GETTING PAST THAT LITTLE WORD “IF”

getting past if

 

There’s a little word that represents a position we take up before God we must overcome in order to walk in victory. It is the word “IF” which can reflect a position of doubting God’s ability, doubting God’s willingness, or living in regret and blame. On three different occasions Jesus changed people’s “IF” into believing God and they received miraculous results.

 

In Matthew 8:1-3 the leper Jesus ministered to took up a position of doubting God’s willingness when he said, “Lord, “IF” thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” He was saying, I know you can, I know you’re able, or I know you have power but will you? Jesus straightened out his doctrine and said, “I will,” and the man’s leprosy was cleansed. It is when we know God’s willingness to use His power that inspires real faith. All the promises of God are in Him yes and Amen (2 Cor. 1:20) and all of the past tense facts of our redemption (1 Peter 2:24) say loud and clear He is willing.

 

In Mark 9:17-30 the man who brought his son to Jesus who had a dumb spirit (mute) took up a position of doubting God’s ability or power when he said, “…if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us.” “IF” you have power, ability, “IF” you can I know you will. I know you are willing but can you. The man made the issue being the power of God but Jesus made the issue the man’s believing when He responded, “…IF thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” He challenged the man’s “IF” with another “IF.” It is our believing that makes God’s power manifest (Rom. 1:16). Believing activates the power of God to heal just as it does to save (Rom. 10:9, 10 “That IF…).

 

In John 11:21, 32 both Martha and Mary took up a position of blame and regret with their “IF” when facing the death of their brother Lazarus and said, IF thou hadst been here my brother had not died.” The “IF” of regret is to feel sorry about something gone, lost, or that has happened or been left undone. “IF” only I’d have done this or “IF only I’d have done that. God can turn that if of regret (and blame) to an “IF” of believing changing our regrets into rejoicing. Jesus said unto Martha, “Said I not unto thee, that “IF” thou wouldest believe thou shouldest see the glory of God.” He challenged her “IF” of regret and blame into the “IF” of believing and we know they did and Lazarus was raised from the dead. First Peter 1:8 says, “…yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”

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JESUS FULLY EXPECTS US TO USE OUR FAITH

jesus fully expects us to use our faith

 

Luke 8:22 “Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. 23 But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. 24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him. 26 And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.”

In Luke 8:22-26 Jesus had given his disciples a word to pass over to the other side of the lake from where they were. It was a part of God’s plan for Him to get there but they had to crossover to get there. God never planned for them to go halfway and sink. As Jesus is asleep, a storm arose and the Bible says that they were in jeopardy. Jeopardy means to be liable to or to face risk of loss, injury, or damage. They call on Jesus and His response was to first rebuke the wind and then rebuke them. He doesn’t say, “Where are the oars, where are the sails, or where are the buckets,” but “Where is your faith?” Was Jesus’ response cruel, insensitive, or mean? No, but He fully expected them to use their faith in the face of risk, jeopardy, and the storm. God does care about what we go through and Jesus as our High Priest is easily touched by the feeling of our infirmities but He awaits an expression of our faith.

What is the whole lesson written here in Luke for? Is it just to show Jesus’ mastery of the wind, waves, and sea? I don’t think so. If you will read what happened once they went to the other side of the water you will notice in verses 26-40 that as soon as they reached the other side a demon possessed man, the mad man of Gadara met him. God had directed Jesus’ ministry to crossover that lake to get to the other side because there was ministry work to be done there to a person in need. What if God has some place He wants you to pass over to, whether it is ministry, business, a financial opportunity, or Kingdom expansion work to be done? This is what could be at the other end of that pull of faith on our heart. It might involve facing jeopardy or risk to get there but that is one of the reasons we have faith. Without facing certain risks you could miss what God has for you. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world (1 John 5:4).

 

 

It is amazing to me that that many use faith to eliminate risk so they can become comfortable. If you think about it, we are always comfortable right before we go to sleep. Are we using faith only for creating our own comfortable lifestyle yet never facing the risks that go with the work of the Kingdom? Faith wasn’t given to us to remove us from facing risk. I think we need to look at risk differently. Risk needs to be viewed not as just the possibility of loss but as the possibility of gain. Risk gives us a chance to claim victory and victory means rejoicing. Facing risk with faith leads to the thrill of victory.

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FIX YOUR BELIEVING

FIX YOUR BELIEVING

 

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

 

Do you realize that every person believes something and there is no such thing as “non-belief?” Believing is the single most common thing we do as human beings. Why? If God desires that we all come to know Him and come to Him on the basis of believing (Hebrews 11:6) then it is only logical that “believing” should be accessible to everyone and everyone be capable of it.

 

We are “believing” more than we do anything else besides breathing. Often we are “believing” or “using our believer” without realizing we are believing the wrong things. For example:

 

  1. Even unbelief is a belief (Romans 3:3). It is a belief in sense knowledge over spiritual knowledge.

 

  1. Even an atheist believes something. It is a belief that there is no God.

 

  1. Even self-pity is a belief. It is feeling sorry for yourself based on some misfortune or failure but often involves a belief that you are a victim who is powerless to do anything.

 

  1. Even discouragement is a belief. It is a belief that there is no hope and every loss is final.

 

  1. Even frustration is a belief. It is a belief you have been stopped because your goal has been blocked and you will be prevented from further success.

 

  1. Even anxiety is a belief. It is a belief that something bad will happen or something good will not happen.

 

  1. Even fear is a belief. It is a belief in a lie or False Evidence Appearing Real.

 

  1. Even rejection is a belief. It is a belief in someone else’s opinion or judgment of you instead of God’s.

 

 

The Good News is that we can change what we believe by changing what we are hearing. Romans 10:14 says, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” Notice a person cannot call on the Lord unless they believe but they cannot believe if they have not heard.  What we hear affects what we believe. Romans 10:17 tells us what we need to hear, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

 

What are you believing? All things are possible if we only believe (Mark 9:23). Take some time to hear the Word of God. Believe what God says in His Word and experience hope, joy, and peace by the power of the Holy Ghost (Romans 15:13).

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DON’T LET WHAT’S MISSING IN YOUR LIFE DEFINE YOU

DON_T LET WHAT_S MISSING IN YOUR LIFE DEFINE YOU

 

What’s missing in your life? What’s missing in your life that you are letting define you? If you will only listen like Bartemeus you can receive what you are missing. We have something from God that can get us what we’re missing and it is called faith.

 

In Mk. 10:46-52 we have the story of blind Bartemeus. Jesus passed through Jericho and a blind man sat by the road side begging. When he heard the crowd going by he asked what was happening at which they said Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. Bartemeus, the son of Timaeus (which is short for Timothy, “one who fears God”) begins to cry aloud at the top of his lungs, “Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. He keeps on shouting and even though the crowd tries to get him to be quiet he won’t shut up. When Jesus heard it says He stood still. Jesus didn’t call for him because he cried aloud at a high volume but to call someone son of David was the equivalent of calling someone the Messiah (the promised descendant of David who would save his people from their sins, heal, deliver and open blind eyes Isaiah 35:5,6). The crowd called him Jesus of Nazareth, a local boy, Bartemeus called Him the Messiah, the One God sent from Heaven.

 

Jesus asks him what he wants (v.51) which is almost like giving someone a blank check to fill in the amount. He did the same thing in the previous chapter (10:36) to the sons of Zebedee but they didn’t get what they asked for but Bartemeus did.  He said that he might receive his sight. What made the difference? Jesus tells us in (v. 52) “… thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight….” His faith is what made the difference, not Jesus’ faith, not Jesus’ power, not God’s sovereignty but rather Bartemeus’ own faith.

 

Many think like the crowd that Jesus doesn’t want to be bothered by their problems but He does; but it is not our problems that will get His attention. It is our faith that will make Him stand still. Bartemeus didn’t need eyes to get to Jesus, only faith. Faith will always get His attention. Faith always attracts the attention and favor of God. Faith is the magnet that draws God’s attention. The seasons and circumstances of our life will always change every time we decide to use our faith.

 

Bartemeus didn’t realize at first what he had. He was used to being defined by what he didn’t have and by what he was missing, his sight. That’s why he was called “blind Bartemeus.” He came to realize what he did have, which was faith, could get him what he didn’t have (his sight). It all happened because he heard of Jesus and happened to be listening. What you do have can get you what you’re missing.

 

You do have the measure of faith Romans 12:3.

You do have the spirit of faith 2 Corinthians 4:13.

You do have access to the word of faith Romans 10:17.

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FINISHING WELL

Finishing-Well-793x446

 

Hebrews 12:1-3 says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

The Spirit of God through Paul writing to the Hebrews uses the analogy of a race to the Christian life. It is not a sprint but rather a marathon and it is not how you start but how you finish. Very few ribbons, medals, trophies, awards, or product endorsements are given to athletes who started well. Athletes don’t appear on Wheaties cereal boxes because of being good starters. The Holy Ghost is persuading the Hebrew believers to finish what they started and it is faith that’ll help you to finish well. It’s not how you start it is how you finish.

 

Abraham started out compromising, lying, and getting impatient – but he by faith finished as the father of our faith.

 

Sarah started out barren, laughing in unbelief at God’s promise – but she by faith ended up the mother of many nations.

 

Rahab started out as a prostitute – but by faith she ended up in the family tree of Jesus the Messiah.

 

Mary Magdalene started out full of demons – but by faith ended up as the first witness of the resurrection.

 

The Apostle Paul at the end of his life before his departure reminded his son in the faith Timothy,  “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing 2 Timothy 4:7-8.”

 

Paul started out a violent persecutor of the church – but by faith he ended up the Apostle given the revelation of the Church as the Body of Christ, the Gospel of grace, and a master church planter. The crown of righteousness as his reward awaited him from the righteous Judge, our Lord.

 

It is not just how you start – it is how you finish!

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BELIEVING IN THE UNSEEN

 

 believing in the unseen

2 Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

 

Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God MUST BELIEVE THAT HE IS, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” The first principle of faith is believing God is or believing in Someone you cannot see. It is believing something invisible (God) exists or is. Do you mean to tell me I have to believe in Someone I cannot see or that an invisible God exists? Yes, we MUST believe the invisible unseen God is or exists. Faith that pleases God starts with believing in someone you cannot see.

 

Not only does God exist (or is) out there, but so is other spiritual blessings. Everything about our redemption existed in the unseen realm before we received it. It was in the spiritual heavenly realm and unseen at first. Ephesians 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who HATH blessed us with ALL spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” They are spiritual blessings in heavenly places or of heavenly things not for when we get to heaven but to tell us they are invisible and unseen. They are unseen as a supply or provision of God’s grace.

 

Salvation, healing, deliverance, blessing, forgiveness… all exist somewhere before anyone receives them. They are as 1 Corinthians 2:9, 10 describes as, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” We don’t have to go up to heaven to get them but God has given us faith to receive them here. It is faith that receives the spiritual provisions and makes them manifest (visible) in the visible world.

 

We are instructed to not look at seen things but to look at unseen things in 2 Corinthians 4:18 which says, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Our faith (what we believe and speak) is based on the Word of God that unveils to us what exists, or “is” already in existence as a provision of God’s grace in the unseen eternal realm.

 

Our faith doesn’t create the provision but rather it receives the provisions already created by the work of Christ in redemption that are already there and are rightfully ours because of what Jesus did. Now that’s amazing grace and thank God we have been given the measure of faith to receive it.

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BELIEVING MAKES ALL THINGS POSSIBLE

believing-makes-all-things-possible

Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

 

Believing God’s Word makes things possible that men say are impossible. We receive from God through believing what He says in His Word. We believe we receive when we pray when Mark 11:24. Some interesting things about believing:

 

  1. God allows man himself to decide what he will believe (you can believe wrong and believe a lie/He won’t force us to believe His Word).

 

John 20:25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. He didn’t force Thomas.

 

  1. Every person believes something and even unbelief is a belief.

 

Romans 3:3 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? (Unbelief is a belief in something other than God’s Word. You do believe something.  All of your life you will believe something; and without knowing it, you may have more belief in your doubts than on the Word of God.  You can be an unbelieving believer).

 

 

  1. Every person is responsible for what he believes.

 

2 Cor. 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

 

Rev. 20:11-12 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

 

 

  1. You can always tell if a person’s believing is right by what he says and how he acts. (We always act and talk what we really believe about any situation).

 

2 Cor. 4:13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;

James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

Examine yourself to see if you are really believing God’s Word or are simply mentally assenting or agreeing His Word is true but not actually exercising your faith in it.

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