At some point in life, we all have been challenged, threatened or confronted by problems or circumstances that caused us to become worried, fearful, or filled with anxiety. In those times, we sometimes tend to forget that we are not alone—that God is always with us. Not remembering that blessed truth doesn’t change the fact that, because He loves us so much, we have His divine favor (Isaiah 61:2). He is always ready, willing and able to take care of anything that is against us or that may try to separate us from Him. Not only does He control the universe, but He also watches over and takes care of your life. Despite what the enemy says or does, God is going to get the glory as He works out His purpose in you. Your responsibility is to seek His will, and leave the rest up to Him. He has given you His love, His power, His Word and His favor, to overcome whatever you are confronted with. You are more than a conqueror—you are an overcomer in Jesus!
We talked on Monday about “mustard-seed” faith—that tiny bit of faith that God honors and blesses because He recognizes it as being real, true and sincere—and the truth that it doesn’t have to be BIG faith. But here’s something to remember: God responds to prayers based on a full knowledge that He is the God who supplies all your needs according to His riches (Philippians 4:19). He not only gives you what you need, but the Bible says that He will give you the desires of your heart, according to His will for your life (Psalm 37:4). What you believe for is not a problem for God, because He owns it all. If it is His will that you have it, then you can count on it being yours. Even those things that, in the natural, seem impossible to you are possible with God (Matthew 19:26). God has given each of us a measure of faith. Are you using yours?
Yesterday marked the 28th anniversary of The Faith Center. It also served as a reminder to me of what faith in God’s Word, no matter how big or small, will do when it is properly applied. I like to say it this way: Faith in God will move mountains out of your life! This ministry was begun on what Jesus describes in Luke 17:6 as “mustard-seed” faith. It wasn’t “great faith,” as some would believe is required for God to move. But it was the kind of faith the Bible declares is necessary for God to move. In that verse, Jesus said your faith can be as small as the size of a mustard seed and you can still speak the Word of God and see what you say come to pass. That’s an amazing promise from God. But here’s the caution: Don’t read that scripture to mean you should settle for having small faith just because you know it will work for you. The greater your faith, the greater your victories. Use the faith you have, but use it believing God for even greater, bigger faith. And as you do, God will honor the faith you have.
Faith. It’s what caused Carol and me to move from Brooklyn, N.Y., 34 years ago and put down new roots here in South Florida. It was what caused The Faith Center Ministries to be established 28 years ago this month. And today, it’s what’s keeping us all alive—joyfully and obediently serving God day by day. Everything that has been accomplished in and through this ministry—every heart touched, every soul saved, every life changed—has been because of faith in our God and obedience to His Word. It’s because of decisions each of us have made to step out and trust Him. And today, we’re reaping the benefits of God’s blessings through our obedience to Him. This month, I’m taking the opportunity to encourage your faith—whether it’s big faith, or faith as small as a grain of mustard seed. I want to help you understand and recognize you are living in God’s divine favor, and what that means for you. The Bible says His mercy endures forever, and His grace toward you is sufficient—in all things (2 Corinthians 12:9). Prepare to embrace God’s favor in your life.
I talk with people all the time whose faith journey is similar to mine. Like me, God spoke and told them to move and they obeyed—even when things looked bleak and it didn’t seem they could prosper and become successful. And because they stepped out in faith, determined to stand on God’s Word and not waiver, He honored their faith and blessed them beyond their wildest dreams. I am yet living in the fulfillment of God’s promises as He continuously blesses and prospers me, my family, and the congregation at The Faith Center. And as we, as a church body, prepare to celebrate 28 years of ministry, God continues to assure us that His best is yet to come. In John 10:27-28, New Living Translation, Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.” God honors faithfulness, and rewards obedience. Once you hear from God, be quick to obey. Put your faith to work and trust Him to carry out His planned purpose for you. He has a blessed future waiting for you.
Society is good about placing labels on people—especially Christians. Because we choose to not partake in the ungodly acts that are so prevalent in the world—things that oppose God and His Word—they view us as being different. The thing is, when you read what the Bible says about being like the world, you quickly realize how being labelled as different is not so bad. First John 2:17, The Message, says: “Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.” Do you really want to be characterized in that kind of light? As believers, we are called out of the world—set apart by God and made to display a new and different lifestyle—one that reflects His love, kindness, mercy, and truth. Knowing that should make you, or anyone, okay with being different.
Ever heard the expression, “Think outside the box”? It’s just another way of saying “Don’t think or act like everyone else.” In other words, don’t be a carbon copy. Take the plunge. Be different! That’s what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote in Romans 12:2, New Living Translation, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” As a believer, you’ll never be able to be an effective witness for God and lead others to Him if you’re living like the world lives—saying the same ungodly things they say and doing the same ungodly things they do. God has called you out of darkness and into the light. He has given you a new and different image—one that will help lead others out of a world of sin and darkness and point them to the light of Jesus. He has called you to be “the light of the world.”
If you’re at a place in your spiritual life where you’re thinking about giving up on your hopes, dreams and desires—you’re ready to throw in the towel because what you’ve been trusting and believing God for hasn’t come to pass, let me just encourage you that quitting is not an option! Especially when you look back and see how far you’ve come—how far God has brought you from when you first began your journey of faith. You’ve made it this far, and with God leading the way, you’ll continue and finish in victory. Just make sure you have plenty of fuel in your spiritual tank to complete the journey. If you’ve slacked off on reading the Word, praying and spending time with God, then get back to it now. Don’t let a day go by that you don’t seek first His kingdom (Matthew 6:33). How’s your spiritual tank? Are you full, half full, or empty? If it’s time to refuel, get to your Bible filling station—your spiritual recharging station—and get the refueling you need to stay on your faith journey.
Admittedly, I’m not as knowledgeable when it comes to computers as some people I know. That’s why I can easily get a little excited when, after my computer has malfunctioned, I hit the restart button and moments later there’s a message on the screen indicating everything is back to normal. I know my files are safe, that everything has been restored, and I can get on with my work. All it took was a simple reboot—a reset or recharge of the computer system and “presto,” I was back in business. Obviously, God does not look at us the same way we view our computers. But He does have a way to restore us when our faith starts to weaken—when we start to feel weary, worn out, helpless and hopeless. He says in Matthew 11:28, The Message, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.” God knows that living the Christian life is not always easy—that somewhere along the way we may get weary or get off track. That’s why He’s ready, willing and able to help us. Need to have your faith recharged? Pray and get in the Word, and let God refresh, energize and recharge you.
Nearly every day, we, as believers, face situations that might cause us to become frustrated, angry, defensive, arrogant—even complacent and lackadaisical. Not surprisingly, the stress brought on by situations can make us numb to the things of God. No longer are we faithful and fervently committed to prayer, to spending time in God’s Word, or to worship and fellowship. Just like we receive warnings when our electronic devices are running low on power and about to shut down, emotions and reactions like these serve as warnings that our faith level is dropping—that we’re slowly disconnecting from God, our Source of life. When you sense this happening in your life, don’t ignore the warning signs. Reconnect to God in worship, prayer and His Word. You’ll find that’s the best way to live stress-less!