What is faith, darling?
Well, allow me to take a moment to talk about what FAITH is NOT.
Faith is NOT taking matters into your own hands unless directed to do so.
This is BIG.
At my core, I am really a risk taker. I may not mountain climb or parasail, but I take risks all the time with my career, with my finances, my projects. For example, I will readily spend my last dollar on a pair of sparkly earrings if I needed them for a specific event, photoshoot or a present for a friend. My reasoning would be, “surely God will send more resources for rent, car insurance, groceries. Everything will work out for the good. Right?” Well…not always, darling. Read the fine print.
There really is a difference between FAITH and FOLLY.
Remember the God that we encounter in the Old Testament is the same God we encounter in the New Testament. Our God is a God of order. Every occurrence has its season. There is a time and place for everything.
For example, when it comes to giving, there is an appointed time.
We are told to give to Caesar his due. Meaning we must pay our debts.
14 They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
Is it right to pay the imperial tax[b] to Caesar or not?
15 Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”
But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.”
16 They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
17 Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him. Mark 12 14-17
We are told to pay our tithes to the church.
“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. Malachi 3:8-10
We are told to take care of the poor.
There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land. Deuteronomy 15:11
“When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God.’ Leviticus 23:22
‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you. Leviticus 25:35
….Back to those sparkly earrings….
Faith in God to provide all that we need or want necessitates that we will not deviate from God’s rules in order to have our own way. In other words, even though I want/need the sparkly earrings, job promotion, car payment, food for the week, I may not take matters into my own hands outside of God’s laws to obtain them. In fact, I am bound by the Laws of God. Faith means that I must trust God to provide me with the desires of my heart in His own way and in His own time.
We are told to ask God for whatever we want. Then wait on Him for the victory.
You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:14
If I want sparkly earrings, I should ask God for them. I should then do my part to prepare for the blessing (research who makes the best sparkly earrings, where to purchase, how much they are, what I will wear with them). And finally, I must cultivate a lifestyle that will enable me to listen to God for direction as to how and when to obtain them (e.g., I must go to Him in prayer daily in order to develop a listening ear).
Taking matters into my own hands…deciding not to pay rent to afford sparkly earrings, orchestrating a plot to steal them, refraining from giving to the poor to justify them, or failing to take care of my family to obtain them is not FAITH. This is FOLLY and it is not God’s way.
All we have to do for a VICTORY on Earth is to ask a benevolent GOD…wait in Faith…and do our part (pray and study the Word of God)!
It is a promise, darling.
We are commanded to love GOD, to keep his commandments & to obey his directives. But what happens when your feelings get in the way of and even work to thwart your compliance?
It is essential that we figure out a way to battle certain feelings especially those feelings that cause us to act contrary to God’s law.
Where do these feelings emanate? How can they be overcome?
Let’s start with a few basic truths about feelings.
1 Feelings are essential to Christians. Recall that God commands us to love him with all of our hearts, our minds and our soul. When we read his word, when we confront His great works in nature, science and the heavens, we are moved. We FEEL awe, wonder, joy.
2 Feelings cannot be created or commanded. You cannot conjure a genuine feeling. And really, the more you try, the more miserable you may become.
3 Feelings change because they are based on variables that change from day to day moment to moment. Physical conditions affect us. Hurtful comments affect us. Lack of money or over abundance affects us. Encounters with certain people affect us. The “mean reds” can creep in for no apparent reason. Yesterday you may have been perfectly content only to find that this morning, you are despondent.
Because feelings ebb and flow, we must not allow them to control us.
Instead we must seize control!
We are commanded to REJOICE. (But, notice “rejoice” does not mean “be happy.”) You can not conjure up happiness at will. But you can make yourself REJOICE.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
So put on a praise song and PRAISE HIM! Regardless of your circumstances. REJOICE in the Lord for something, for everything. Dance and sing until your spirit lifts.
2. STIR UP THE GIFT
2 Timothy 1:6
For which cause I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee through the laying on of my hands.
When that dastardly mood descends, initiate a dialog with your fabulous self.
Say to yourself, "DARLING, I am not going to allow you to descend into that pit today." Remind yourself of who you are, what you are and to whom you belong. Then get outside and take in the sights and sounds of the most perfect Creator.
They replied, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household.'
Remember his promises. You may not be able to make yourself happy, but you can remind yourself of your belief in a God who can do ANYTHING. This is where all those bible stories come in handy. Remember how Jesus raised Lazarus? Remember Jacob wrestling all night with the pre-incarnate Christ? Remember the promises of God never to leave us. Remember that he sent a Holy Spirit to dwell inside of us to comfort us. Remember that he has prepared a place for us. Remember that we see through a glass darkly on this side but it will be revealed in God’s time.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you.
Do not worry about your feelings.
Blessed (truly happy) are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness- not happiness.
Do not continue to seek thrills. Instead seek to be more like Jesus. Seek to live righteously. Seek to be holy.
Go directly to God and seek His face. Dive into his word and search for His truth. The revelation thwarts feelings of despair.
AND PLEASE REMEMBER THIS:
“I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”
As you approach a new year, don’t dwell on the past-past feelings, past failures, suffering, loss. Instead, leave those feelings of negativity buried in 2010.
Go boldly forward into 2011 remembering that GOD holds the new year in HIS HANDS in trust for us.
If you commit to doing things HIS way, He will guide you one day at a time. HE PROMISED, Darlings.
Spiritual Depression Its Causes and Its Cure by D. Martin Lloyd-Jones
But, how can you trust God if you do not know Him?
When you read the word of God, you learn about the character of God (His likes and His dislikes). You learn about the behavior that is pleasing to God. You learn how God delights in giving His children the desires of their hearts. You learn that He will not abandon his people even when they make mistakes. You learn how to identify the people of God in a fallen world. You learn about the miracles of God that occur even now.
And GUESS WHAT? Over time, you learn how good God is. The more time you spend talking to God and learning of God, the more you realize that God only does good things. And then you start gradually relying on God more and more. First you assign God small tasks, e.g., assistance paying bills, healing for a friend, a path forward at work. Soon you learn to pray more and more effectively and then you start to see God move on the things you have entrusted to Him (not always in the way you want but always in a good way). Now, you start to relax. You are now eager to abandon your strategies for success opting to let this Awesome GOD take the lead.
And darling, at that moment (the moment you move over to the passenger seat), you will be AMAZED at what God Power will do for you and for those you entrust to Him.