Mark 11:22-24 (NLT)
Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.”
It happened again this week and last week, too. I hate cancer. I relieve the pain in their stories as my heart knows and understands all too well how it feels to have your life turned upside down and shaken profusely. In helpless desperation, you want to fight but cannot see the adversary that you face. As the disease grows in the body of a loved one, you feel the impact growing inside of you. Fear, anxiety and confusion all try to grip your heart to crush it before it beats one more time. What do I do now? What should I do tomorrow? I want to help but feel helpless. Will they survive? They cannot possibly die. It is that moment that we see a possible end of time that we must decide what we believe about the day after that. Many will say to those who have encountered cancer or the like that they will pray for them. While the sentiment is to offer comfort, I wonder how many really do it? Oh, this is not a statement of condemnation but my own introspection and deep conviction to be true and genuine about my faith in God with others, of course, but most importantly with myself.
To believe. Do I dare to believe? The cool thing about Christianity is that it comes with a script and firm set of rules that apply. Religion carefully outlines the dos and don’ts of this special club that meets together on Sunday and Wednesday. But what I need in that moment when the end of life seems too near is to know what comes after that. My religion is helpful and useful in my day to day life but it is my relationship to Jesus Christ that changes the day after that. Too many times we are caught up in the doing of religion rather than the undoing of our relationship with Jesus. The time that we get all wrapped up in Him and not what we can do with this thing called life. When our carefully constructed life becomes a million pieces of our broken heart – what then? Will it be tomorrow? Will it be the day after that?
Have faith in God. Do I believe that my faith is powerful enough to change the outcomes in my life? Do I have doubt in my heart? I can pray for anything and if I believe – it will happen. Will it? Yes, it does by faith that believes in God. That’s really all there is too it. Breezing by the simplicity of our connection to Christ – our humanity must make it about more rather than accepting His Gift. We have to do something or there is no investment. To believe is our investment to this relationship – it really is that simple.
Psalm 116:1-10 (NLT)
I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! Death wrapped its ropes around me; the terrors of the grave overtook me. I saw only trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Please, Lord, save me!” How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours! The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me. Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me. He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. And so I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth! I believed in you, so I said, “I am deeply troubled, Lord.”
To believe in God is a perpetual process in our life. Abram was promised to be the father of many descendants long before God changed his name to Abraham. Faith is a process. It is the gentle undoing of our heart to expose every bit of disbelief we have and reinvest it into the Kingdom of God. Our relationship to the Lord is intimate and personal. It is not dependent on anyone other than you or me. We decide if we believe and how it will impact our life. Simplicity is the key we are missing. We want to participate in a process that is already predetermined. The Lord promised Abram. God had already decided to bless this man now the man just had to become connected to Him by believing that God would do exactly what He promised. Abram decided that he wanted what God was offering and was willing to follow Him to have it. What do you want in life? Most people just want peace, love and joy to find them. Getting wrapped up in the pursuit of such things is not uncommon. What is less common and oh so simple is to believe.
Romans 3:22-23 tells us that everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s Glorious Standard of life. We are made right by choosing to have faith in Christ. I know a lot of people who are facing some definite challenges in their life both saved and unsaved. What is there to lose in consulting God about your current circumstances? I am not saying find a church, go to church, join a church or even leave your house. I am simply asking what would happen if you just started talking to God right where you are and all by yourself. What do you have to lose? How desperate are you for a change? Is there a desire in your heart that burns so hot you need some relief? If we call on the Name of Jesus and believe in our heart, we are saved. From the mile high perspective, this includes Eternity. But what if the Lord intended salvation for daily participation then what? It means things like cancer are like mountains cast in the sea!
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT)
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
I have found in my life that I tried to do a lot of things that were not my job when it came to my faith in the Lord. God saved me by His Grace but somehow I decided that I must earn it. I know that the deception of the enemy to all people is that God expects something different than what we are doing. He wants us to change all our bad habits. Make better choices. Feed the poor. Clothe the naked. Surrender everything to Him. Of course, He does. But not all at once or as something we could ever do. See if we could do it, we wouldn’t need Jesus. The reality is that I am no different than my brother or sister next to me who doesn’t have a clue. Maybe if Christian believers lived by the “Grace of God” rather than trying to make others think we are perfect and have it all together, they would try calling on Jesus. Salvation will never ever have anything to do with anything that I have done or not done. Salvation is Jesus. God has given us His Word that points to the potential for our life, but the only way to have it is the Lord. The Bible is not a self-help or get-rich-quick book but rather it outlines in careful detail what God will do in response to our faith. You believe and you will receive everything good that He has promised. But you have to believe. My disbelief does not alter or change God’s Will for my life. (Isaiah 43:10-11) This is so hard to understand because we often compare God to man. His Grace allows us to have His Best at our worst. What would happen if the world saw us acting on belief by faith in the Grace of God? The day after tomorrow might offer a little more hope than it once did.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NLT)
If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
My testimony is a turned over, shaken up story about a mess that has been made beautiful and complete by faith in God. That’s it. I can tell you what the Word says about my life that you cannot see yet. I can share with you all the miraculous and wonderful things that the Lord has done for our family. Grace, Mercy and Love belong to you just like God gave it to us. The only difference may be in one’s ability to receive. Do you believe in God? It really doesn’t matter what you thought about Him yesterday – it didn’t change His Mind about you. He has been pursing you with His Goodness and Unfailing Love since the day you were born. You don’t have to change anything except how you think about the Lord. To believe is to simple reach out and connect with the unseen Savior by faith. You don’t have to tell another person. You just have to tell Him. Over time, as your new life in Christ unfolds you will begin to express this new faith that you have found. The most important thing for now is that you find it. I am not trying to scare anyone just simply stating the obvious. Every week, I learn of someone new who has heard the devastating news that cancer has come to call. You may think that it is because I am more sensitive to it than before and maybe you are right. But what if you hear those words today, first you will consult a physician but who is your next call? What will be your response when tomorrow is a hope and not a promise? For each of us that day is today – and Jesus is calling. Not for you to radically change your life or disposition…just hear Him out. He has a Plan. It is a good one with a future and hope worth dying for. It is well worth pursuing even if your first words are just “Lord, are you there?” You never have to face another day alone or fight another battle by yourself within yourself. He is with us. He waits for us. He wants us. Jesus will be there to welcome us the day after our last day on earth.
Ephesians 1:18-20 (NLT)
I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.