Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD God is the eternal Rock. (Isaiah 26:4)
Why is it that we love hero stories? We seem to especially love super hero stories. There must be inhuman odds of the hero ever finding success. The earth itself must be in peril. The greater the opposition and difficulty of the hero to even survive makes the story that much better. This is not a recent phenomenon. Hero stories have lasted for thousands of years. There’s something about them that we humans love.
I think it has to do with something that we’d never associate those stories with. I think it has to do with the very nature of God. It is the nature of God to overcome evil. His goodness banishes evil by Him being good. Consider this, God breathed life into Adam. That breath of God contained the essence of the Godhead. It gave life to the spirit of Adam so that we retain, how ever minute, the essence of God within us. We love stories that overcome evil because God put that desire in us. They inspire us to live above our humanity.
But is it real? Is Superman real? In a sense yes. With God, all things are possible. ALL THINGS. Nothing is impossible. When we stand against evil, we become heroes in the kingdom. That doesn’t happen when we confine our Christian experience to church attendance and potluck socials. It only happens when we stand face to face against cancer, terrorism, sex trafficking, massive floods, death and destruction.
How do you release your super powers? By standing in the authority that God gave you. He did not say, pray and ask me to heal the sick. He said, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons.” (Matt 10:8) That’s super hero stuff, and every believer that is filled with the Spirit of God has it in him to do. We are capable of so much good, if we only believed it. We can stand against the very tide of evil and turn it back with a word, just as Jesus stopped the storm. He left us with the command to do as He did. (Jhn 14:12)
I believe that we will face an accounting for what we did with the power that Jesus gave us. Like the talents buried in the ground, we waste so much of what we’ve been given. And the unprofitable servant will be cast into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt 25:30) Is that scare mongering? Perhaps, but it is also truth and plain as day in the Bible.
God did not expect us to allow the world to be overrun by evil. He gave us the power of His Spirit for a reason — to heal, bless, and release the kingdom of God everywhere we go. Whenever we stand against the devices of the enemy, the real Super Hero within us is released in power to effect His good. And He doesn’t mind us enjoying stories that inspire us to do that.
Everyone feels little confident that they know what faith is. Intellectually, we understand that faith is trust. I’m going to talk about what it is to trust in God. For most of my life, I agreed with what just about everyone else believes, that faith is trust. I believed in God and counted that as faith. I prayed. I believed that God would, and should, answer my prayers because I trusted that He would. Did He? Not as often as I wanted. Why? Because I didn’t actually have faith.
My knowledge of God was not the same thing as trusting Him. My knowledge of a political party does not make me an active participant in that party. I have to believe their core values and act on them. It was a shocking burst of reality when I discovered that all my years of “believing” only amounted to years of “knowing.” When my faith called me to believe, I had a meltdown.
Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Heb 11:1) That’s the tricky part — we don’t like having to trust in something we can’t see. Yet, that’s exactly what God wants from us. That’s what faith is all about. It means that you will trust and not worry. Will the money come in? Trust and not worry. Will your son be ok in the military? Trust and not worry.
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. (Heb 11:6) It starts with believing that God exists. When we know that, we have to understand His nature. If we seek Him, because we want to find Him, He rewards us with what we need and blesses us even above that. Once we understand who He is, trusting Him gets easy. Read His Word and see just how generous and kind He is.
Here’s my challenge to you: check your heart and judge if you think you have faith, or you know you have faith. The way to determine that is checking your worry meter. If you worry at all, then faith is absent. If you turn to God and believe that He will do what He’s promised to do, then faith is active. Try it. Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve been worrying. Repent. Ask God to forgive you and ask Him for more faith to trust Him. Then try it out. See how far it takes you. We grow from faith to faith, always trusting Him more. If worry sneaks in because it’s been a habit, repent, ask for forgiveness, and move on.
Faith will save your life if you allow it. It is definitely God’s plan for you.
The blessings of God belong to us. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. (Eph 1:3) These are real promises. Every spiritual blessing is ours. What does that look like? Look at the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Gal 5:22-23) Does any of that look like anything you’d like to have in your life? What about physical blessing? Jesus said: Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. (Mat 6:25) That means that God will provide all that you need in life!
Does it start to look like God wants to bless you in just about every way possible? So, if He’s so willing to give it, why don’t you have it?
One reason is because you may not think you deserve it. We’ve been trained to earn what we get. We think that if we behave ourselves, we’ll be rewarded. When we screw up, we feel guilty and don’t feel like we deserve any reward, and that blocks what God wants to do. And, as it turns out, we’re human, so we screw up all the time — so we never feel like we ever deserve blessing.
But here’s the thing, God knows we’re human. He’s known that all along, and He’s not bothered by it. In fact, Jesus died for us knowing just how human we were, and loved us the whole time. We can’t earn His blessing. He gives it freely, knowing who we are. There’s no way to be perfect, so get over it. When you mess up, repent. Give it to Jesus and let it go. Guilt, condemnation, and fear will block all the goodness that God wants to put into your life. Confessing your sins and continuing to feel guilty is not His plan. You have to know that you are forgiven when you repent.
Now ask God to bless you. That’s perfectly ok to do. He wants to do it. Say, “Father, I receive all the blessings that you are giving me.” Now watch what happens in your life. When you see blessing begin to come to you, thank Him. Be grateful, then ask for more. That’s ok, too. There’s no limit to how much blessing you can have. It’s all yours. More than you could possibly hold onto. In fact, you may have to ask Him to hold back at some point so you can take it all in.
Blessing is a by-product of living in a loving relationship with God. Once you get over feeling like you have to earn it, you can live with the grace of God on you that your spirit hungers for. Love, peace, and joy are yours. Provision to meet your needs are yours. God wants to take complete care of you. All you have to do is let Him.
Is this true? It’s from the Bible, so it’s either truth or a lie. I choose to believe that the Bible is truth. It is the word of God, and God is telling me that I can do anything. Wait…anything? That probably means that if I put my mind to it I can do all things that are within my limitations. Because, if I study hard enough, or practice hard enough, or think good thoughts long enough I can do things that are pretty hard.
Nope. That’s not what it means. Studying hard and practicing are works of my own effort, not through Jesus. God says that I can do anything, if I rely on Him. That means that it’s all His effort, not mine.
So what does anything look like? Well, use your imagination. Imagine that the Holy Spirit is asking you to do something that seems impossible. It probably looks a little scary, because it if wasn’t you could do it on your own. But what if you accept that God can do what He wants, and what if you agree with Him to do what He asks. Now impossible things begin to happen. Now you can do anything because Jesus is with you.
What’s stopping you right now from doing impossible things? Fear. Fear is lying to you. Fear says that God will not what He says He will do. Fear is a liar. Tell it to leave you. Turn to God and tell God that you trust Him. Ask Him to help you do impossible things, then trust Him. Just do it. Now the next one will be easier because you have experience that God will be there for you. Keep doing it. Soon, the impossible things will become an amazing and fun adventure.
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matt 5:14-16)
It’s easy to read this to mean that as long as I believe in God, I have His light in me and that’s all I need — my light is shining because I say I believe in God. I used to believe this — for a long time. The problem was, my light didn’t do anything. Light is supposed to chase away darkness and my light wasn’t all that visible. I went to church and read my Bible but no one was affected by it. No darkness fled before me. Why was that?
My light was weak because I didn’t actually trust God as much as I said I did. When the storms came, my house built on sand came crashing down. (Matt 7:24-28). My light was indeed hidden under a basket. Weak light hidden under a basket does not change the world, much less your own life.
I finally began to read the Bible for the truth that it is. When God says to trust Him, He means it. He means it when He says He’ll take care of me, but my responsibility is to stop worrying about it. He said He would provide for all that I need. The job, the house, the relationships, everything that matters to me matters to Him.
Learning to trust Him for the good Father that He is will turn the voltage up on your light. Pretty soon the basket has to get out of the way. And when we walk into the room, the atmosphere changes because of Who we carry in us. Darkness has to flee. People will be affected because the God of the universe just came in.
Life is never the same after we embrace Jesus for who He said He is. His love for us is a light that just won’t go out, and the more we embrace Him, the brighter it gets.
I would like to suggest that God is unreasonable. Not because what He asks of us is just too difficult, but because we can’t reason Him fully. There’s only so much we can understand of Him, after that we just have to trust our spirits. Our spirits understand God perfectly because God is spirit. When we learn to trust what our spirit knows, it’s called faith.
When we intellectualize God without having a relationship with Him, we become like the Pharisees. They knew who Jesus was. They listened to Him teach. They saw what He did, but they didn’t want what He offered. It messed with their intellectual understanding of God.
Jesus didn’t come to set up a code of rules that the Pharisees would be familiar with. He came to be in relationship with anyone who wanted God. Relationships are messy. They get personal. Jesus wanted to connect with real people, not rules.
Coming to Jesus takes an act of will. That involves your intellect, but it also requires faith. You have to step off the cliff at some point and trust that God will be there for you. He promises that He will, all the time. Don’t over think it. He’s not asking you to stop using your brain, He’s asking you to trust your spirit.
And when you do, God goes from being unreasonable to very, very reasonable. When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you get a new brain. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2) Renewing is just like being born again. It’s a new brain, not the same old one born again. Instead of your old brain, you get the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16) Don’t reject this. This is exactly what the Bible says, and the Bible is the word of God. (2 Timothy 3:16)
Now that you have the mind of Christ, God becomes understandable. This is going to take some getting used to. Knowing the depths of God won’t come in a blinding flash of revelation, though that will happen too. You learn and grow — precept upon precept, line upon line. (Isaiah 28:10) You begin to trust when the Holy Spirit is speaking to you. You begin to get ideas that you know weren’t yours. The mind of Christ begins to broaden your thinking and you begin to trust Him more. It’s a journey into the realms that your natural mind could never take you.
But this relationship doesn’t just happen because you read about it. It requires an active decision. You must want it and go after it.
Let’s pretend that you are isolated in a place with no access to the outside world. There’s no way to learn the things that you need to survive or help you. Then let’s say that you had an uncle who knew you were in that difficult place and wanted to help. Let’s say that he spent all of his savings to buy you a computer that would help you with everything you need. But in order to get the computer to you, the uncle has an accident and loses an arm. How would you feel about receiving that gift after it cost him so much, both financially and physically? Would you leave the computer in the box and dust it off now and then? Would you thank him kindly and use the computer to play games? Or would you hug and kiss him for the sacrifice that he made and plug that computer into the internet and discover the world?
The gift you’ve been given by God is far, far more valuable than a computer. Jesus, the Son of God, sacrificed His life and then gave you access to all of heaven. His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3) It’s just amazing. Everything you need in life is yours. God has promised to take of you and delight you. The key to receiving all that you need is this: But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:33) Seek after the Lord. Ask for more understanding of who He is. Find Him in the scriptures, in your prayer time, in looking at His creation. He’s there, and He’s waiting. There is so much He wants you to have. He’s a great Father and He wants the best for you. Go get it.
Sometimes we believe more about what we think the Bible says than what the Bible actually says. We believe unerringly in what we’ve been taught by others, and yet when we read the Word that runs counter to that teaching, we somehow justify the false doctrine.
One of the beliefs that we’ve held onto is that, if we believe in God, our lives will be perfect. Some of you are rolling your eyes, but this is a belief that many people have held onto their whole lives. I did for a long time.
What does that Bible say? It says that Jesus, the Son of God, was in a boat that nearly capsized in the middle of an ocean. It says that Paul was arrested, beaten, stoned, and left for dead. It says that Stephen was martyred. Did these men do something that invited disaster into their lives because of sin? No. These were men truly devoted to God.
We were never promised paradise on earth when we come to Christ. We were promised salvation. Despite our faith and trust in God, life happens. No matter how strong your prayer life is, the car will break down on the freeway, the kids will play too hard and lose a tooth, the dog will throw-up in a visitor’s purse. Life happens. It’s how you respond to it that will show your real walk with God.
Jesus said to pray on earth as it is in heaven. Is there provision in heaven for what you need? Yes, declare provision from heaven and thank God for His generosity. Is there healing in heaven for what you need? Yes, declare healing and thank God for His great love. Jesus said to seek first the kingdom of God and all that you need will be provided for you. He said that because you will still deal with life, as long as you live on earth.
And, by the way, you will never get yourself cleaned up enough for anything. You don’t have that ability. Even if you are not consciously sinning, we all have a history that has shaped our attitudes and desires, and those are not always righteous. But God knows that, and He loves you dearly. Don’t try to clean up your life so God can do something in you. Go to God with your heart in your hand and He will do what needs to be done in you. He’s better at knowing your needs than you are. Some of those problems in your life come from what you believe about yourself and others. You may need to forgive and let go. You may need to admit that you’re not right. You may need to say, I’m sorry. Breaking some bad habits can only be done with God’s help, so give it all to Him and be obedient to Him. It will change your life.
Everyday can be filled with love, joy, peace, and wisdom, even when you caused the fender bender or broke the boss’s favorite coffee mug. Jesus is always with you. Always. He is everything you need for everything that happens in your day. You want paradise on earth? Walk with Jesus and pray for the things of heaven to be real on earth. It’s in the Bible. Just read it.
Too many people feel that blessing belongs to others — others more important, or more spiritual. Many people don’t believe they even deserve blessing. We’ve been taught to earn our rewards, but blessing from God is a gift. We are blessed through grace, not works. There is not one thing that you can do to earn God’s blessing. He blesses because He loves you.
Because some feel the need to earn what grace gives freely, they reject it in their low self-esteem. Even when it’s freely offered, they will refuse it because they don’t feel worthy to receive it. This is a very dangerous attitude to have. Imagine standing before God one day and explaining why you refused to receive His gift that Jesus suffered and died to give you.
David wasn’t shy about asking to be blessed:
Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners, Whose mouth speaks lying words,
And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood— That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; That our daughters may be as pillars, Sculptured in palace style; That our barns may be full, Supplying all kinds of produce; That our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our field. (Ps 144: 11-13)
When we receive salvation through Jesus’s sacrifice, we become a new creation. (2Cor 5:17) We are remade to be like Jesus, with His Spirit inside us. That package includes God’s blessing. He can’t help Himself, He loves us so much. But we have to be thankful and receive what He has given. Believing that we can’t receive His comfort, His provision, His grace because we don’t deserve it is a lie from the devil.
If you need to repent and ask God to forgive you for not believing that you deserve to be blessed, do it. Repentance is a wonderful thing. And it’s not sinful, or prideful, to ask for blessing. There is so much that God will do for you if you only trust Him and ask. It’s time to see what that looks like.
We always think that other people are more spiritual. God uses people like Daniel and Joseph, not us. But the truth is, God uses people like Daniel and Joseph AND us. Remember Jacob? Remember Gideon? God is not looking for perfect people, He’s looking for obedient and loving people.
We lose so much by short changing ourselves. Our assumptions rob us of freedom and blessing. God wants you right now, just as you are. Do you have room to grow? Of course, but He loves who you are and all the gifts and talents He put in you. Use them. Enjoy them.
We compare ourselves to other people, and it’s a huge mistake. There is joy in working with God in the big things as well as the small things. It’s your heart that matters. He wants your willingness to trust Him. That’s all. That’s all Eve had to do. Instead, she listened to someone else and allowed her mind to be changed. We have to stop doing that. If God says something, He means it. He can’t lie, so His Word is truth.
Trust Him. Be who you are meant to be. There is fulfillment and joy in doing what God is leading you to do, even if it’s difficult at first. Read His Word and start living it, no matter what others say or do. God is with you, because He said He would be.