I was about to delete this post, but it reminded me of how much I’ve changed. I hope this means something to someone.
For the last couple of months I’ve been doing this awesome devotion. It takes me only a few minutes to read each day but every time I read it I feel challenged, convicted, hopeful, and blessed–sometimes all at once.
Most of the time the devotion for the day appears to speak to my current circumstances. I highly recommend you get your hands on it. It’s called: “The One Year At His Feet” devotional, written by Chris Tiegreen. It is designed to walk you through the Bible in one year, but the daily devotions do not necessarily start in Genesis and end in Revelation. This particular one is to “Walk Thru the new Testament.” (If you’re interested you can find out more about this Christian organization at http://www.walkthru.org & purchase the devotion book I’m talking about.)
Anyway over the last 6 days I’ve read about FAITH and how BIG our God is. I found this kind of funny because over the last couple of weeks my favorite song to belt out has been “Waiting Here For You” by Christy Nockels. I can’t tell you how happy I was when we started singing this song at church!
So back to the devotions. I often find myself saying to God, I’m praying for “x,” but only if You, maybe, want to. Or I think that only if God is willing, then He will. This has resulted in diminishing my faith. It sounds harsh, but it’s true. I’ve wondered why I’ve been struggling lately. I’ve wondered why I see God move in others or blesses people in an area where I’d like to be blessed, example: finances. It’s because I’ve, as many say, put God into a small box.
Naturally God has something to say about my recent pattern of prayer. He wants to teach me about Him and how He responds to our faith. Well…He’s taught me quite a bit over the last 6 days. (I’ve quoted the author a couple of times, and pulled only a few sentences from each devotion…there’s a lot more to read that will explain in detail the truths I’ve been discovering…which is why I recommend that you buy the book.) 🙂
On Saturday, Oct. 22, I read Matthew 17:20 which says, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” I’ve heard & read this before and I found out that I didn’t fully understood what Jesus meant. I have to quote Chris Tiegreen because I can’t explain it better myself: “Why, then, don’t we experience dramatic answers to our prayers as often as we’d like? If our faith isn’t too small–and it’s hard to get smaller than a mustard seed, so that can’t be the problem–and our God is so big, what’s the problem? It’s a matter of perception. Though God is big, our expectations for Him are not. Or they are misplaced…The answer to the immobility of our mountains is within us: It all depends on how we see God…He wants us to see Him as able and willing before we pray.”
Sunday, Oct. 23rd, I read Mark 9:23, “If you can.” For length reasons I won’t explain the story. The point that Jesus makes in this Scripture is that He’s telling us that he can. He wants to intervene in our situations, his specialty is the impossible. It’s not Him who lacks. It’s us. “The issue for us is not whether He can, but knowing His will and His ways–and assuming the best of them…Our requests should be huge.”
Then I went to church. Our pastor preached on Name Dropping. He meant praying in the name of Jesus. It was a very powerful message and it confirmed what I’d been reading. I also highly recommend watching this sermon. http://christtheredeemer.tv/
Then click on Media, then Listen to or Watch Sermons, then click on Watch (or Listen, or Notes) for Name Drop, Oct. 23rd. You will get even more out of what I’m trying to communicate on this post. (Well, I don’t think the sermon is there anymore…but there are others you can watch.)
Mon., Oct. 24 I read the same Scripture, Matthew 17:20. “Though Jesus is consistent and frequent in His praise of faith, he never says that faith is the end of the matter. It’s not faith in our own ability to have faith that is the key to answered prayer. It’s faith in Him.” It turns out that faith of a mustard seed, which is very tiny, isn’t even so much of the big picture. “It’s simply Jesus…The substance of faith is never what matters; it’s the object of faith. How much we have isn’t the issue. it’s the One in whom we trust.” Ah! “Light bulb” moment. I think I’m getting it…
Tues., Oct. 25 I read Luke 17:19, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” This one spoke volumes to me, and again, I must quote Chris Tiegreen’s words: “God responds to faith in Him, and He often witholds His blessing when faith is absent. When faith is gone, God seems distant. And when faith is great, God reveals Himself as greater still. An awful lot depends on how we see God…There are times when He may test our faith…But it is more likely that He is acting in exactly the way your faith expects Him to. You want big answers to your prayers? Pray big prayers, and know the size of the God you seek.” God is a BIG God, so why haven’t my prayers been designed in this way?
Wed., Oct. 26, I read Matthew 9:29, “According to your faith will it be done to you.” “We say we will have greater faith when we see more of God. God says we will see more of Him when we have greater faith. The belief comes first…Faith is nothing in itself.” And there lies the internal conflict we have with ourselves. I know I have had that first thought many times. I used to think well sure, my faith will be larger than a mustard seed when I see God do “x,y, and z.” I’m glad to see that I’m wrong. “It’s the object of our faith that matters. You want big faith? Worship a big God.” See…there lies my problem. I thought I had to have all kinds of faith before God moved. Nope. I need to see Him for who He is when I pray.
This morning I read the same Scripture that I did on Wednesday. Only this time the author is talking not about quantity, but about the quality of our faith. “We know God can do great things on our behalf; we seldom believe that He will…The other half of faith is understanding the mercy of God and His great willingness to intervene. This is what brings His glory from the realm of theology into the practicum of or lives.”
Okay, Lord, I think I get it now. I need to see God for who He is and read the Bible daily to learn more about Him & His will. I need to understand that if I put my faith in Him, believe what He says is true, know that He loves me, and isn’t withholding blessings to “punish” me (because God loves unconditionally, therefore I can’t “earn” His favor). All He wants is a close relationship with me and for me to believe that He is good. If I want to see God move, which I do, then I need to believe He will do it. This is of course following the knowledge that God doesn’t always answer our prayers in the time we think He should, in the way we think He should, or how we think He should…but He’s here, listening, and wants to intervene in our impossible situations. I have to have faith FIRST, “and know the size of the God you seek.”