Will He Find Faith?

“Now, will God not judge in favor of his own people who cry to him day and night for help? Will he be slow to help them? I tell you, he will judge in their favor and do it quickly. But will the Son of Man find faith on earth when he comes?”

~ Luke 18:7-8 Good News Translation

The parable leading up to this question posed by Jesus is the story of the widow & the corrupt judge. The widow goes to him day after day, demanding justice for a wrong committed to her. The unrighteous judge gives in and sees that she receives what is right, not because he has a heart for oppressed widows, but because she kept pestering him!

The Lord equates persistence with faith. That’s why the beginning of this parable in Luke opens with, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to teach them that they should always pray and never become discouraged.” Luke 18:1

The devil wants us to give up. He is betting, hoping, planning that the delays in God’s answer will cause us to quit and throw in the towel, spiritually speaking. Discouragement is a powerful weapon in his evil arsenal.

God doesn’t want you to give up. He wants you to stay connected to Him in prayer. He loves hearing from you. And He doesn’t mind if you come to Him day after day asking for what you need. But don’t stop there, pray for others needs as well. We serve a big God…He can handle it.

I want to close with a couple of passages that speak to the power of persistence in the kingdom of God. They demonstrate faith in action. One is another parable shared by Jesus. The other is the Lord’s response to a mother who would not leave Him until she received help for her tormented child.

Luke 11:5-10 

And Jesus said to his disciples, “Suppose one of you should go to a friend’s house at midnight and say, ‘Friend, let me borrow three loaves of bread. A friend of mine who is on a trip has just come to my house, and I don’t have any food for him!’ And suppose your friend should answer from inside, ‘Don’t bother me! The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ Well, what then? I tell you that even if he will not get up and give you the bread because you are his friend, yet he will get up and give you everything you need because you are not ashamed to keep on asking. And so I say to you: Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For those who ask will receive, and those who seek will find, and the door will be opened to anyone who knocks.

Mark 7:24-30

From there Jesus set out for the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house there where he didn’t think he would be found, but he couldn’t escape notice. He was barely inside when a woman who had a disturbed daughter heard where he was. She came and knelt at his feet, begging for help. The woman was Greek, Syro-Phoenician by birth. She asked him to cure her daughter.

He said, “Stand in line and take your turn. The children get fed first. If there’s any left over, the dogs get it.”

She said, “Of course, Master. But don’t dogs under the table get scraps dropped by the children?”

Jesus was impressed. “You’re right! On your way! Your daughter is no longer disturbed. The demonic affliction is gone.” She went home and found her daughter relaxed on the bed, the torment gone for good.

Faith pleases God. Ask and keeping on asking, He will be faithful to you.

Blessings!

I am the Lord that healeth thee

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“For everything hidden is meant to be revealed, and everything concealed is meant to be brought to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. ” Mark 4:22-23

Do you hear the voice of God? Do you respond when He speaks? If you are listening, the Lord will instruct & direct you. He has innumerable creative ways to teach us and give us understanding, if we are willing to hear & learn.

When Jesus walked on the earth as a man, he used parables to help give insight into God’s kingdom. But not everyone who heard the words He spoke understood their meaning. Even His disciples were perplexed.

But the wonderful promise we have as His followers, as children of God, is this:

“You are permitted to understand the secret  of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders…” Mark 4:11 a

If you don’t understand something, ask God. He will reveal the truth you need.

One of the ways the Lord teaches me is through my work. Throughout my Christian walk, He has used parallels between my daily, common duties to help expand my understanding of His kingdom & His ways. The Holy Spirit is such a wonderful guide!

I currently work in the healthcare sector, handling claims after they have been processed & denied. My job is to find out what caused a claim to be rejected and then find the way to correct it so it will pay. One of the common denials is due to a claim being sent to the wrong payer.

With health insurance, there is primary, secondary & tertiary coverage, meaning a patient can have several insurance policies to cover their medical expenses. There is always a primary payer, such as Medicare or a commercial plan, where the claim needs to be submitted first. If the patient has more than one insurance policy, such as a Medicare supplemental plan, the claim must first be submitted to Medicare before the supplemental plan will pay any additional expenses, if the charges are a payable benefit of the plan. If the claim accidentally goes to a secondary or tertiary payer, they will kick it back, citing “please submit charges to primary insurance”.

The easy fix for this in our system is to go into the patient’s  medical account and check how the billing order is set up. A simple click can change the order that claims are submitted, and then everything flows smoothly. if not, the claim is stuck in limbo with the clock ticking. We only have so many days to get a claim submitted for payment before the window closes, and then we have unpaid charges piling up.

This can happen in our life as well. Certain things are not working, and we don’t know why. We need change and are believing for breakthrough, but life just keeps dragging on at the same pace. It can feel like we are walking through mud or high water– so much resistance!

Do a check with God and find out where He is in relation to your life. Is He primary, where He should be? Do you seek Him first, last or somewhere in between? Is He the One you look to for truth & direction? When He answers you, do you follow through and obey?

Prayerfully think about it. His direction & promise to us is this:

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 

The full section text of Matthew 6:24-34:

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or
you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and
money.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about
your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than
clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They
do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was
dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is
here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you -you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your
heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his
righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own [emphasis added].” 

 Matthew 6.33

A Fresh Start

During the month of December, I got off track spiritually. The push at work to complete projects before the holidays contributed to a sense of pressure. Plans w/friends & family, along with church & school events, made my schedule tight. On top of that, I got a cold 2 days before we traveled out of town, which caused me to be sick in bed on Christmas day. I didn’t start to feel better until a few days ago, which was several days into the New Year.

I need fresh manna, my daily bread. One of the best ways I have found to get into the word is through listening to the Daily Audio Bible.  Each year, one day at a time, this resource walks (or reads) you through the entire bible.

I didn’t start listening again until January 4th. I have an app on my phone that I listen to before work or when I’m at home. I have caught up to today, January 7th, and I want to share it with you.

Brain Hardin is the anointed speaker & teacher sharing the scripture. His insight is great, so please, keep listening after the readings are done each day. Everyday he will read a section of the Old Testament, then from the New Testament, from Psalms & then from Proverbs, in chronological order. He chooses different versions of the bible each week, so you get to hear the word in its rich & varied forms.

Today’s entry is focused on Abraham’s promise from God in the Old Testament & Jesus’s teaching on prayer & forgiveness in the New Testament. I know you will be blessed as you listen to the truth from God’s word:

DAB January 7, 2018

“…Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,” 1 Peter 2:2

The entrance of Your word brings light

 

Why God Hates Sin

So many people think that God is vengeful & mean, just sitting on His throne in heaven waiting to zap us with a thunder-bolt every time we do something wrong.

For starters, that image is more appropriate to a pagan God, like Zeus or Odin.

When I speak of God, I am speaking of the One True Living God. God the Creator. Jehovah, El Shaddai. The God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. God the Father, the One who sent His only Begotten Son, Jesus, who is also God, and the Holy Spirit. The divine Trinity.

I make this distinction for a reason. God, little “g”, represents many different things to different people. When someone says they believe in god, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they believe in the Judeo/Christian God, or Jesus, who is the only one who gives us access to the real, true living God, big “G”:

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” ~ John 14:6

Now that I have laid that foundation, back to the reason for this post: God hates sin. No ifs, ands or buts. Anyone who says differently is trying to sell you something…or deceive you…and is deceived themselves.

Sin is anything that God says is sin, or sinful. Sin is not subject to trends or societal mores. There are no acceptable & unacceptable sins in God’s eyes. That’s a human construct. That is, if the human in question even considers the reality of sin. Many people don’t and are highly offended by the use of the word. Here is one thing the Lord says in regard to sin and sinners:

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes And clever in their own sight!” ~ Isaiah 5:20-21

Good is also whatever God says is good, just so we’re clear. There are many good things that our western society calls bad: monogamy, integrity, obedience to authority, truth, freedom, purity, forgiveness, mercy, etc.

Since I am a parent, a mom, I’m going to share with you what God has shown me in regards to hating sin, from a parent’s perspective. I think anyone, though, who truly loves someone else can relate to the example I’m going to use.

As a parent, I hate anything that has the potential to hurt or destroy my child. Let’s use addiction as an example for this post. What my child may see as good or desirable or harmless, like say drugs or alcohol, I see as a threat to my child’s health & well-being. Just because something is legal or natural does not exempt it from being dangerous. While liquor is legal for adults over 21, how many people’s lives have been destroyed because of someone’s misuse or overuse of beer, wine or distilled beverages? The same applies with drugs, dangerous sexual activity, gambling, food, spending money…whatever. The addicted person is no longer in control of that thing. Instead, the thing is now controlling them.

I am not saying it’s a sin if you drink alcohol. Just please consider what I am saying. As a parent, no matter how young or old your child is, it hurts to see the one you love enslaved to an addiction of any kind. Marriages are destroyed because of addictions. Families break apart, children are scared, scarred & abused because someone in their world is under the control of something stronger than they are. The reality of an alcohol addiction is not the breezy, beachy Corona scene of commercials:

beer_beach-06-2407

It more often looks like this:

Children-Growing-up-with-Alcoholic-Parents

or this:

alg-teen-alcohol-jpg

If your child or loved one is under the control of alcohol, do you have warm, fuzzy thoughts when you see them drunk? Are you happy to see that six-pack enter your house? Is it a pleasant surprise when you find liquor bottles hidden in a closet or stashed under a bed? My guess is you would hate the thing that is contributing toward the destruction of your child, spouse or friend. I know I would.

After a period time you may start to resent and hate the person too, if you’re not careful. After all, they are causing you a lot of emotional pain, possibly physical pain as well.

You hate the thing that is destroying your child. God hates sin, because it destroys the ones He loves…us. And here’s the thing: everyone has sin. Not one person is exempt from the condition or consequences of sin because we are born with it:

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:23

“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.” 1 John 1:8

“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man (Adam), and death through sin, so also death was passed on to all men, because all sinned.” Romans 5:12

Now, as a parent, spouse or friend of someone who is addicted to (*fill in the blank), wouldn’t you do anything to see them set free, healthy & whole?

God has already done something. Sin does not have to hold you in bondage any longer. You’ve heard it before, but hear it again:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17

God is giving you an escape, a way out of the sin that you were born with and can never be rid of on your own.

“Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.…” John 3:18

Just like an addicted person who thinks they can handle their (*fill in the blank) and doesn’t need any help from anyone, we can never do enough good works or be “good enough” in and of ourselves to satisfy the righteous standard of a Holy God.

God punished sin when Jesus, His sinless Son, willing went to the cross & took the sin of the world upon Himself… past, present & future…suffering a punishment we all deserve but are spared when we accept His sacrifice on our behalf.

Haven’t their been instances when someone you love is suffering, and you think, “Oh please Lord, let it be me and not them!” This is what Jesus has done for you. He suffered in your place. He took our sin, and the punishment our sin deserves, because of His unfailing love:

“Greater love has no one than this, that one should lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

Jesus laid down His life for you. Receive the mercy, cleansing & love He paid such a high price to give to you and be free.

 

Outstretched Handedited

 

 

Living By Faith

“Behold, his soul which is proud is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4

Another version of the well-known scripture above says:

“Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God. Habakkuk 2:4 New Living Translation

What does this mean? Simply put, the righteous person, the one who is justified and put in right-standing with God through belief in His Son Jesus– this person lives a life of faith and trust in God.

The Christian life is walked out daily, living in communion with Christ, with the Father and with the Holy Spirit. We seek His way, learning what pleases God as we allow our thoughts to be transformed by the truth found in God’s word.

This takes time. Our relationship with the Father, through Christ, is built through time spent with Him in prayer, studying God’s word and by asking the Holy Spirit to help us understand it.

We confess our sins when we commit them, fully trusting that God is faithful to forgive us each and every time.

And so, as we go on growing in Christ, we grow in faith, trusting that what God say’s is true, even when our eyes see evidence to the contrary:

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

God is faithful to His promises. He is faithful…period. Trust Him and experience the peace and freedom that comes from of life well-lived in faith.

Blessings ❤

 

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