From the Inside

From the Inside

Matthew 21:21-22 (NLT)  Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”

You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it. I have heard this statement many times. I have also heard a number of conditions and excuses as well. The Word of God tells us plainly, “If you pray for anything” – it is not qualified as “according to His Will” or “if He can” or “if God will”. Jesus says it without any qualifier but one thing – you must have faith. If you pray and have faith – you will receive it. What are you praying for today? Is God answering your prayers? Are you trying to do good and live right? Still nothing? Do you go to church regularly, serve faithfully and give religiously? Still nothing? Could it be that the missing factor is faith?

Jesus told His Disciples that “if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and more.” He had just cursed the fig tree so it withered and died on the spot. The disciples thought it a cool trick and wanted to know the secret. Jesus told them. Have faith. Don’t doubt. These men who walked and talked with Jesus Christ every single day would still struggle to find faith throughout His Ministry. Some continued to doubt all the way to the Cross, the empty tomb and even when He was living before them. Those who believe can tell the “mountain” to be lifted up and thrown into the sea and it will happen. Got any mountains getting in the way of your success or prosperity today? Yeah, me too!

What if we have been going about this “mountain-relocation program” all the wrong way? What if mountains are dislodged and moved from the inside out? Could it be that an important step has been overlooked? We had a huge tree in the flowerbed of our new house. It looked like a Christmas tree towering over our house. Deciding to tackle it one day, I began to prune it. I thought maybe if it just looked a little better and I could get it under control – it would be easier than trying to dig it up. I could stop here. I could and meditate on the thought of how many times I compromise in life. Rather than removing the thing I know is hindering me, I keep it as earthly security attempting to control the thing that is controlling me. Less I digress, so once I was done shaping the tree in a more uniform fashion, I decided it wasn’t good enough. The thing was still an eyesore so I began digging around it to expose the roots. There were some superficial roots that were easily severed. Some had been growing a very long time, these were thick and hard to cut. Finally lopping the trunk inches off the ground, coating it with paint to hinder new growth, I gave up and left the little stump.

What if the mountain in your life is not moving because it is not dislodged from doubt? Faith severs ties to fear, doubt and insecurity. The Lord has given me a measure of faith to move mountains, teardown strongholds and overcome every barrier between His Promises and me. I must use my faith actively to build confidence in God, His Willingness and Availability to me through Jesus Christ. It is only then that the thing holding my mountain in place will be removed and my words filled with the Power and Authority of Christ will cast it from before me.

Matthew 21:23 (NLT) When Jesus returned to the Temple and began teaching, the leading priests and elders came up to him. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?”

What is challenging the authority and power of Christ in your life today? Hope is the anchor of our soul. Fear is the root immobilizing the mountain. The religious people such as the Pharisees were challenged by Jesus Christ who wrecked their religion by offering people a relationship. In Hebrews 12:18, it says, “You have not come to a physical mountain…” Reading this today, I believe the Lord is telling us that the people and problems of life are the challenges that expose the truth concerning our faith. We look at the momentary troubles and trials of life as terminal when they are simply an opportunity to plant faith and uproot doubt. Sowing and reaping the benefits of the Kingdom begin with seeds of faith…always. It is impossible to please God without faith. (Hebrews 11:6)

Matthew 17:19-20 (NLT) Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?” “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”

It is not the quantity of our faith that is important. It is the quality of our faith and authenticity of it. A single mustard seed has the potential to produce an entire tree full of more seeds to build a forest. If that seed is not planted, it will produce nothing. Jesus didn’t tell his disciples to have great faith just a little bit of faith. The potential of faith is to do the impossible. The limitation of faith is human doubt that renders it ineffective. When our faith is limited to conversation and not cultivated, it does nothing. I can say I have faith but if my life is not lived according to that faith then I will be disappointed and discouraged by overgrown doubt that keeps me from the prospering life full of God’s Promises. The promise is secure but my faith is not.

Matthew 6:30 (NLT) And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

Do you constantly worry about life? Do you stress over every detail? Is your life clothed in anxiety? Do you believe God is your provider? God is good. He will never let you down. Faith in His Person is essential to know our Identity in Jesus Christ.

Matthew 8:10-11 (NLT) I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!

Who has been given power and authority in your life today? Did the “devil” make you do it? Is the “enemy” constantly attacking you? Could it be that you have given him the right to do so? Jesus Christ has overcome the world. He has given us victory. Glory to glory flows through us. Faith is confidence in the authority and power of Jesus Christ at work in every detail of our life as He makes good on His Promise. (Romans 8:28)

Matthew 8:25-27 (NLT) The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”

Jesus promised to never leave us or forsake us. When the storms of life come, it is human nature to hold the Lord accountable. However, the Lord is always in complete and uncompromised control of a life yielded to Him. When we yoke our life to Christ by faith, it is the opportunity to share His Peace even when all hell breaks loose in our life. We don’t have to run off and look for the Lord because He is already right there with us.

Matthew 9:21-22 (NLT) “She thought, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Jesus turned around, and when he saw her he said, “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was healed at that moment.

When the woman ran out of options, there was an opportunity to be healed. She had been to every physician and taken her friends advice. She had endured pain and suffering for a long time. When she heard about Jesus, the woman felt hope tingle on the inside. She left her home desperate to find Jesus. Faith told her just touch his robe and He will heal you. She tried it. It worked. Sometimes desperation is the pressure applied to our life that forces faith to the surface. Have you tried everything to eliminate the pain? Have you exhausted all your resources? Are you desperate for relief? Your faith can make you well.

Matthew 14:30-32 (NLT) But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.

Fear is the enemy of faith. Perfect love casts our all fear. The Love of God for us is reckless. It is pursuing us day and night. However, one strong wind can cause us to look at our situation taking our eyes off the Savior. Seems silly doesn’t it – Jesus standing right there in front of Peter yet the man looked around at the waves losing sight of Him. Distractions. Detours. Delays. All these things will cause doubt to be revealed in our life. We must use the self-control given to us by the Holy Spirit to keep walking face down in prayer and eyes forward on Christ.

The Lord is asking each of us today – “Why did you doubt me?” He is not reprimanding us. He is not about to punish us. He is encouraging us. He is showing us the root keeping the hindrances, barriers, strongholds and even “mountains” blocking miracles in place. The Lord has good things in store for us in the land of the living. We must keep our eyes on Jesus the Author and Finisher of faith in order to achieve these promises in our life. The potential of our life is uncompromised. Faith will remove every barrier that unbelief was held us in place with. The mountain can be moved. It can be lifted up and tossed into the sea. We must remove every root of unbelief, fear, doubt and insecurity by faith to give it the freedom to do so. It is never an instance of “if” God can or “if” He will – it is our faith in Him that makes mountains move.

Matthew 25:20-21 (NLT)  The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’ “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

According to Romans 12:3, “God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” You have faith already. You choose where to invest it. Faith is confidence. Confidence is given to the one who has authority and power in our life. We decide where our treasure will be and invest our time, talent and treasure to multiple it. If you are not satisfied with the return on your faith, it is time to plant your faith somewhere else. You have complete freedom to sow and reap where you choose to do so. When our life doesn’t line up with the Word of God, it is not a limitation of potential but misappropriation of our faith. To trust and believe in God requires more than just words it is an action. It is to live our life as Children of God through Jesus Christ every day. Giving Him full power and authority over every situation and condition. Faith with works will produce completion. The work of our faith is total trust and complete confidence in Jesus Christ. He is good and He will never let us down. He does not leave us or forsake us. He is pursuing us always with unconditional love and grace. This is our confidence. It is the perfect place to invest our faith. You have faith inside of you and it is from that source that productive sowing in life occurs. “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 John 1:2)

James 2:22-24 (NLT) You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.

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Mountains Out of Molehills

Mountains Out Molehills

Hebrews 4:16 (NIV) Let us than approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Faith is the confidence that a believer has in God’s Word for their life. God’s Word came to us – His Name is Jesus Christ. The Word of God wrapped in flesh to demonstrate God’s Love for us in living color. He died for our sins, tore the veil giving us access to His Presence so that it is our privilege to approach “God’s Throne of Grace” with confidence. Faith without confidence is not faith at all by definition. To attempt to become a Child of God outside of faith is futile. You must believe. You must do away with the doubt that creates insecurity, fear and anxiousness about our relationship with God. Christ cannot live, breathe, move in us somehow miraculously changing us into a new creature outside of faith that believes, trusts and therefore obeys the Word. We could stop there and have enough meat to chew on for a week in our Christian walk. However, the Lord will not leave us with leftovers but always provides new manna and fresh water for His People.

With this in mind, I was listening to a brief video sent to me on Twitter. The mentor referenced the report of the ten spies who went to survey the Promised Land before the Israelite people would enter. The word given to me sunk deep in my heart and began to take root. The spies came back affirming that God had indeed led them to the land of milk and honey – the Lord did exactly as He promised so far but…there were giants in the land. Acquisition would be a problem. They would have to overcome them to take the promise. What giant are you facing today? Is it doubt? Fear? Anxiety? Insecurity? Low self-esteem? A lack of faith? No confidence? Pride calls doubt so many lesser names but the reality of doubt is that it stops faith completely because faith must have confidence to be faith at all.

Numbers 13:30-33 (NIV) Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anakcome from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

Caleb and the others brought back fruit from the land and confirmed it was plentiful and prosperous. Then they added the word that nullifies everything beforehand…”but”. The people who live there are powerful. They were referring to the Nephilim. Nephilim were giants. Not just men of tall stature but believed to be fallen angels who created a race of super humans in that time. Not only were these guys big, but powerful beyond their physical strength in the eyes of the Israelites. The bad report spread more quickly than the praise report that God had brought them to the place of promise. Definitive words in their reports such as “we can’t”, “all” were of great size, and probably the most damaging…”we seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes and we looked the same to them.” Their self-confidence shattered by comparison revealed a trust problem far greater than the giants they would face. In fact, it was their own report that made a mountain out of a molehill and raised up giants all around them.

There is always one crazy believer in God’s success stories in the Bible. The one man or woman who says not on my watch. Not today, devil. I believe God. I am going to trust the Lord. And it usually a solo effort. Moses, Noah, Jacob, Daniel, David, Peter and Paul just to name a few. Not the mightiest men or those of the greatest integrity – God called them because they believed. Caleb silenced the people when he spoke these words of faith, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” As usual, the bad report spread much faster than his report.

Whose report do you believe today? God brought you through the fire unharmed, the rough waters just fine, and has led you up to your promise – will you go for it? What do you have to lose? So many times, when the journey is long and hard the moment of truth comes and the lie of the enemy keeps us on the verge of breakthrough because somehow we forget it was never about our power, strength or energy. It was God’s Plan from the beginning and He will carry us through to the end. The Children of Israel had taken their eyes off God and began evaluating their progress and promise through natural eyes. They obviously couldn’t do it. Confidence in self will not produce the purpose God put inside of you to be accomplished by faith. It is by faith that our life pleases God and makes His Plan successful.

I Samuel 17:45-47 (NIV) David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

Are you a giant builder or a giant killer? Do you make mountains out of molehills? The whole Israelite army had been camped on the side of the mountain enduring the taunts and threats of Goliath. He was backed by an army but one man held them at bay. Who will kill the giant? There was a reward. David came with a directive from his earthly father – take your brothers food and bring me back a report of their welfare. David did not set out on the journey to kill a giant but simply to do the will of his father. When he arrived, he saw the cowering soldiers and heard the threats of the giant. His response to the report he received was not like most people. David had faith in God more than man even a giant man. What about you?

David didn’t realize that what seemed like a mundane task would be a defining moment in his life. His brothers mocked him. Saul tried to change him into a soldier. In the end, David stayed true to himself. His confidence not in his stature, strength or prowess but simply in God who He loved with all his heart. “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the Name of the Lord Almighty.” By faith, David killed the giant that day with a slingshot and smooth stone. He did not build the giant with fear or add mass to the mountain of doubt, but simply came against his adversary with total and complete faith in God. His victory that day was with purpose that would flow into today. The battle belongs to the Lord. He will give it all into your hands. If you believe this enough to receive it, nothing will ever be marked impossible in your life again.

Zechariah 4:6-7 (NIV) So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. “What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’”

By comparison, you may feel like a grasshopper but there is a giant slayer in all of us. Confidence in God begins by believing His Word and trusting His Spirit. Faith is confidence. It cannot be changed or redefined according to our willingness or ability. Faith is confidence in the unseen reality of the Promises of God for His People beginning with salvation moving forward to prosperity. Miracles must be marked impossible. Healing comes through illness and infirmity. Deliverance is packaged in bondage. Freedom is for the captive. Faith grows when our trust in God becomes greater than the “giants” and “mountains” in our life. Not by might, not by power but by my Spirit – the Spirit of the Living God lives in us. He is the giant killer and mountain leveler in us who gives us overwhelming victory and glorious triumph when we walk by faith and not by sight. Is there a giant before you today? Is the mountain too big? Faith and confidence in the Living God who lives in you will knock both of these down in your life if you choose to believe. Don’t let the give the giant the strength of your confidence. Do not let doubt in your heart become words of discouragement adding to the substance of the mountain. Instead, grab hold of the Word of God for your life. Speak it over your life, dead dreams and far off future. Seek to do His Will. Plan on His Promises being the reality of your life. Stop believing every bad report and spreading it around. Stand your ground. You have overcoming power and overwhelming victory locked inside you. Let it out.

I John 4:4 (NIV) You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Mud Slinging

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Philippians 2:14-16 (NIV) Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.

When I was a little girl, my family spent a great deal of time at the beach. My grandmother and I would sit on the edge of the surf where the water’s edge would almost reach us and the sand was wet to build sandcastles. It was there she taught me to create “drip” castles. Taking a handful of saturated sand, holding it up and letting it drip – you create a sandcastle by moving your hand around to create a monument. It almost resembles a mountain with tall peaks resembling turrets. I have been thinking lately if our words may be the very essence of some of the mountains in our life. Words thoughtlessly released or aimed directly at another that hardened into doubt or even offense. I wonder if the dripping sarcasm or biting dissatisfaction is weighting down the very thing that we are requesting the Lord to remove.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing” is a tall order. Our life is built around convenience, comfort and control. When one of these three are threatened, our pride and selfishness quickly work to construct the foundation as to not interrupt these “vital” necessities of life. Crying out to the Lord to move a mountain, but then firmly packing it in place with words thought to be idle and careless maybe just a release only to stand in frustration before the insurmountable thing which we cannot seem to overcome. What does your mountain look like? Is it made of grumbling, complaining and constant whining?

Pure and blameless” faith comes from a heart that is confident in God’s Salvation and Sovereignty. His Ability to now only save you but sustain you in life. Faith, even in the smallest measure, will move any mountain. I wonder if our faith is being choked out or suffocated by a barrage of worthless banter. If I am complaining about my life as a Child of God, I am telling the world that He is simply not enough. I am confirming their doubt that He is not a saving God full of unconditional love and amazing grace. I am actually feeding the darkness rather than creating new light.

You will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” Jesus is the Light of the world. The Light of the world now lives in us. Is He shining brightly today? Are you confident that He lives in you and works through you? Do you believe that the Lord is working every detail of your life for good as the Word of God tells us in Romans 8:28? Reading just a little further, are you confident that nothing can ever separate you from the Love of God and that you have overwhelming victory in Jesus Christ? See if we believed, our conversation would change. Our way of conversation would shine brightly with confidence that His Love is enough to overcome the mountain of doubt rather than constantly fortifying doubt with mud-slinging words and negative connotation. We give our God and His Son a bad reputation when our words and heart are out of alignment.

Luke 6:45 (NIV) A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

Jesus said, “I tell you that everyone will give account on the day of Judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” What is your daily conversation? Do you listen to the words coming out of your mouth each day? God does. He judges us for the abundance of idle and worthless words that are empty. God has filled us with good fruit. His Spirit gives us the ability and abundance to pour out for others. Love, joy, peace, forgiveness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and, of course, self-control. Did you think it was for you? The generosity of God is poured into us to be released into the darkness of this world and fill it with the Light of His Love. To feed the hungry physically, emotionally and spiritually with the Word of our testimony. Seed left in the silo will not grow it must be put in fertile ground to grow, develop, mature and reproduce. What is your testimony today? In Revelation, it tells us that we overcome by the Blood of the Lamb AND the Word of our testimony? What are you saying about the Lord? Grumbling, complaining, and negativity are born of a hard heart that has not discovered the satisfaction born of faith and hope. Has fear, doubt and anxiety filled your heart with negativity and doubt?

Ephesians 4:29-32 (NIV)  Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

“Do not let ANY unwholesome talk come out of your mouths…” It is my responsibility to monitor the words flowing from my lips. Fresh water cannot come from a salty or even stagnant pond. My words should build and not destroy. Build others up. Build my faith in God. Build a solid foundation of faith rather than adding weight the mountain I am trying to overcome. Faith-full words speak things not yet seen into existence welcoming God’s Spirit to do His Work, not grieving Him, but rather moving “me” out of the way. Bitterness is the root choking out the goodness God is doing in us and through us when we decide that His Word, Will or Way is not for us. It is absolutely for you. Faith makes the unseen hope we have a reality. It moves mountains of doubt out of the way so that we can become one with Christ enjoying all of His Benefits, Promises and Prosperity.

Psalm 19:14 (NIV) May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Today I must consider the conversations I will have and monitor closely my communication with others. Every word I speak is important as it tells of the contents of my heart. I have some mountains still to be removed. I have some doubt that must be washed away with the Word. When building drip castles on the beach, I did not see the significance of the lesson the Lord would teach me in that moment. “When I was a child, I talked like a child. I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man (woman), I put the ways of childhood behind me.” (I Corinthians 13:11)

My grandmother is in Heaven with Jesus now. I miss her every day. Soon it will be my turn to build drip castles on the beach with my grandson, I want my conversation be filled with faith that will build him into a mighty man of God – full of life and favor. I must first build that kind of heart in me. I cannot share a faith I do not own for it is not mine to give. My Gram introduced me to Jesus and I hope to have the same privilege with him one day building sandcastles on the beach. Until then, it is up to me to take captive every thought contrary to faith before it leaves my mouth and cast it back where it came from. To allow the Water of the Word to wash away fear and doubt just as high tide melts sandcastles along the beach. It is important in overcoming the fears, doubts and insecurities that compromise my faith and hinder my hope to take make sure my heart and mouth agree on a daily basis. It is no easy task but always well worth the effort. Mud-slinging words filled with complaining and grumbling feel way better leaving me but then harden into yet another weight keeping my mountain from budging an inch much less melting in the sea. We must put away childish conversation and speak the words of our Father each day.

Lord, let every word I speak be pleasing to you. Pull out every root of bitterness and plant a new seed of faith in the void left behind. Strengthen my heart and remind my soul that you are my confident hope. I have new life in you, Jesus and Your Promises are for me. I give You my heart, mind, soul and body to you again. Lord, use me and my words to bring You glory today. You are worthy of it all.

Revelation 12:10-12 (NIV) Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them!