Faith as Fuel

Faith as Fuel

Let’s say you are working in a job that you can’t stand, or have duties/responsibilities that feel more like drudgery than blessing. Some of us have sick elderly parents to tend, or needy friends who constantly take and never give. You don’t feel that the paycheck of your 9-5 job is worth the stress you take home at the end of every shift. What do you do? To which thing or person do you go? What do you tell yourself? For me, it’s Netflix.

First, we should call it what it is. Ok so it’s not turning to the bottle or the needle. I’m not a traditional addict, but instead have chosen a much more “acceptable” way of dealing. I binge watch TV shows. It just wastes time and takes me into another world where problems are solved in 30 minutes. It’s not that bad right? Except that it is just another way of numbing the pain of an underwhelmed soul. There’s no public shame associated with distracting yourself from something you wish would change. Therefore it remains an untouched subject in my heart.

Second, remember that God blesses us in unexpected ways, places, and opportunities. Like I mentioned in my last post, I was enormously depressed because my first job out of college was “beneath my dignity” as a new graduate. Even so, I received many comforts and assurances from God that summer, through my coworkers and managers. (Not to mention a paycheck that got the job done) Then a few months later my favorite aunt invited me to live with her in Maui and work for her company. A job. In Hawaii. With a boss who is invested in my wellbeing. And all the people said AMEN.

What if I had gone straight into a brand new job after college and missed this opportunity? To be sure there are plenty of what-ifs, but this is a big one for me. God’s will for me in this season was the protection and love of family at this time. What might be just around the bend for you?

Third, consult the Lord. He has a plan and a future for you. Can I say it again? He’s on your side. If there’s a chance to make a change, jump for it. Some seasons are inescapable though, no matter how much you pray and try to change it. When we are hurting in this way the last thing we want to hear is an ignorant but well meant “It’s a blessing in disguise”. Let’s skip over those clichés and go straight to the truth.

  1. Pray for strengthened faith

“So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, ‘Some people have faith; others have good deeds.’ But I say, ‘How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.’” (James 2:17-18 NLT)

We believe in God’s sovereignty and that his purposes get worked out in his time and specific ways. So consider this trial an opportunity to tending our garden in a special way. (James 1:2-4) When we keep working in the face of trials, our faith is proven and strengthened. Faith is the trust that God will do what he promised. Use your faith as fuel to keep on going and god will direct your path.

  1. Pray for patience

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Read this verse over a few times. Do you notice anything interesting? It says that the Lord is patient toward you, not the other way around. He’s not up on his heavenly throne chatting with the Seraphim going, “Yeah, Molly is really getting impatient with this new plan I’m working on for her. I better finish up quickly so she can get on with it!” Ha! On the contrary, who am I to believe my plans and timing as better than the Lord’s? Let’s not forget either – our ultimate purpose is to love God and love each other. THAT is the calling with multiple expressions. So in this season, if I am stuck with no way out, I can still fulfill my purpose while I wait for something better.

Now all that truth sounds really good and all, but let’s be honest. It’s easier said than done. Just because I believe in God’s sovereignty doesn’t mean I like it all the time. The hard part for me is sucking it up and accepting the fact that I am not the master of my own life. Galatians 2:20 says “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me”. This is something that each person who follows Jesus must work on accepting but thankfully we don’t have to do it alone.

What do you think? Journal your thoughts as the spirit leads on the verses mentioned above:

  • James 1:2-4
  • James 2:17-18
  • 2 Peter 3:9
  • Galatians 2:20

Thanks for reading this month’s series on Work and Purpose, I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please feel free to share how the Spirit moved you on the Tea & Testimony facebook page . As a thank you I have created free printables. Print and hang these words of truth where you will see them the most.

Seeking God: True bravery

Seeking God: True bravery

Reading: Psalm 27:1-14, Psalm 109:5-6

Christ: Sometimes true bravery means waiting for God to act on your behalf. Be confident in my consuming love for you and have fearless trust in Me. I will not fail you, though My timing may not agree with yours. But “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord” (Psalm 28:14).

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Think: Consider David, who being pursued by his enemies, prayed and consulted God first. When he had the chance to ensure his own safety and easily kill King Saul (see 1 Samuel 24) he did not take it because he feared the Lord and knew that it was not His will. David chose to let God take care of it, even though it meant allowing Saul to possibly survive and prosper longer. Do I ever take decisions into my own hands out of fear? What would it look like to trust in a stressful time?

Pray: Dear Lord, I am deeply sorry for the times when my actions betrayed my trust in you. Help us to bravely have patience and confidence in your good will for our lives. Amen.

Seeking God: Reaching out

Seeking God: Reaching out

Reading: Psalm 9:9-20, Isaiah 53:5-6

Christ: You are valuable to Me in My kingdom. I was pierced through for the transgressions of all so that there may be no road block for you to come to me in faith and live with Me in Heaven forever.

 

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Think: It’s important for us to meditate not only on the comforting and Godly power of Jesus, but also on his crucified human form as well. Realize that from the cross He has already forgiven every transgression anyone has ever and will ever make. Nothing that I have done may ever prevent me from saying Yes to Him.

Pray: Dear Lord, help me to stay aware of my sin and conscientiously seek to take control of my urges and habits. Jesus reaches out His pierced hand to us, offering forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. Now let me also reach out and take hold of it to be led each day by Him.

Seeking God: Keep a soft heart

Seeking God: Keep a soft heart

Reading: Psalm 95:1-7, Isaiah 40:11

Christ: Remember that I am your place of rest and your shelter of comfort. The cares of the world are stressful and not at all aligned with the original purpose for which you were made. The symptom of a hardened heart appears when you try to make a shelter of safety for yourself. I cannot do my work or you if your heart is hardened against me.

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Think: “The seed sown on the rock never brought any fruit to perfection” – Matthew Henry. When I lie, cheat, steal, I am hardening my heart against God’s heart for me. I may justify my choice, or ignore it altogether but it is still sin.

Pray: Dear Lord, let us keep the ground of our hearts as fertile soil which grows the seed of faith to perfection in the dew of your grace. Help me to notice the moment my heart refuses to receive your wisdom. Holy Spirit, make clear to me the state of my heart so that I may never miss out on the gentle leading of Jesus.


 

Seeking God: Like an oasis

Seeking God: Like an oasis

Reading: Psalm 1-7, Isaiah 35:5-6

Christ: I have not left you alone. I am with you, My Father is with you. Haven’t I sent you the Holy Spirit the Advocate to live in your heart? And not only that, have I not given you a community of believers to rest upon? Like an oasis in the desert these are so that you would not lose hope until that day when I come to bring you to your permanent home. The blind will see and the lame will dance and you will see me face to face. For now, hope in Me and rest in fellowship of others I’ve called so that we are united together.

Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland.

Think: Through fellowship, we can know and be known. Connected to others and God through Jesus, we get to see God’s movement in ways we never thought possible. It may be awkward at first but through knowing and being known we get to see God’s work displayed in situations we may not otherwise come across. 1 John 1:3 says:

We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

Am I a committed part of a fellowship group? What holds me back from fellowship?

Pray: Dear Lord, your will is perfect. Let us not avoid being known and knowing others through a believing fellowship community. Let us be strengthened in You as we hear others’ stories. May our fellowship be glorifying to You and serve to build each other up for work in Your kingdom. Amen.


 

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave a comment below or send us feedback at purediscipleblog [at] gmail.com. We love to hear from you!

~The PD Team

Seeking God: Running the race

Seeking God: Running the race

Read: Psalm 18:1-19, Hebrews 12:1-2

Christ: Please never doubt that I hear your prayers. Every time you incline your heart to Me in prayer and praise, do it with a sure belief that I will answer you. Do not be discouraged by my timing. Recall how limited your reach of mind is, and how unlimited is Mine. Do not fear or be downhearted when something appears to go downhill, for I have already won.

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Think: God does not leave us alone with our faith. It is like an engine which is only powered by His grace and He never stops filling it up for us. Not only that, we are not alone to run the road of endurance all by ourselves; by fixing our eyes on Jesus, we ever strive as a family together toward His will. Who are the people that run alongside me in our journeys of faith? How can I cheer them on today?

Pray: Jesus, thank you for hearing us and being so intimately connected with our struggles at every moment. We want to strip off every unnecessary burden and turn away from every sin in order to follow along the road you have set out for us. For you are my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Amen.


 

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave a comment below or send us feedback at purediscipleblog [at] gmail.com. We love to hear from you!

~The PD Team

Hearing God’s Voice Loud and Clear

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I wanted to share an amazing little tidbit from this book I’ve been reading, Attitudes of a Transformed Heart by Martha Peace. It’s about Guidance.

Every minute of every day as fallen humans we require God’s guidance. We are again and again told that we must understand what is the will of God, and seek His knowledge and wisdom. What we are exhorted to seek is not some abstract concept of wisdom that is mysterious and wholly foreign to us who believe – in the Bible, God is speaking about seeking wisdom that he will give to us.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  ~James 1:5-6

The actual wise counsel of the one true God is completely attainable to you and me!

But how do you usually hear God’s voice? Through a scripture, or quiet time, or a tiny voice in the back of your head? Sometimes what you think is God’s voice, is really your own misinformed conscience. It’s really easy and very dangerous to take for granted just any old “voice in the back of my head” for truth, and God-spoken words.

We must start with what we absolutely know for certain, that is that we are to be Spirit-filled, morally pure, submissive, and that it’s God’s will that you suffer as a Christian. We also know that God somehow works through everything, “supernaturally arranging our circumstances and thus is guiding our way” (p. 105).

If you are uncertain of how to move forward in a certain aspect of your life today, I encourage you to hold up the situation to God and see how your options fall in light of the above convictions. For me personally, I’m struggling with doubt and fear about what will happen to me in the next year or so, and how I am to deal with my obstacles. After reading this chapter, I sat down and wrote down everything that was worrisome and overwhelming to me. Then I copied down these notes and it was immediately clear how I am to act.

It doesn’t matter that these Biblical certainties don’t actually answer any questions for me or you. They are not going to tell me that I need to quit my job or get a new career. Instead, these certainties recalibrate my will with God’s will.They give me the confidence I need to keep walking through another day and know for sure that I am inside of God’s will, and he is taking care of me. And whatever changes or circumstances happen as a result of walking in His light, are just blessings.