DO YOU KNOW HOW TO PROTECT YOUR FAITH?

Do You Know How To Protect Your Faith? https://beckielindsey16.com/2016/04/25/do-you-know-how-to-protect-your-faith/

We protect that which we cherish and value.

We protect because we live in an imperfect and sinful world. We buy insurance, house and car alarms, wear helmets and sunscreen. But what about protecting our faith?

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

If you treasure your relationship with God, you will protect it.

P- Put up a fence.

The Bible refers to the Lord’s protective walls and hedges that He puts around His people (Psalm 18:2-3, Isaiah 49:15-16, Job 1:10, Matthew 21:33). Because we have a sin nature living in us along with the Holy Spirit, there is a battle that rages, urging us to cross the Lord’s hedges.

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever you want.” Galatians 5:17

Our only hope is to let the Holy Spirit have control. “So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” Romans 8:6

This does not mean we are to fence ourselves off from the world and its people entirely. Otherwise, we would not be following the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). We are to be lights, reflecting Jesus’ love (Matthew 5:14). If we let down our wall/fence, and allow sin to take over, we are no longer reflecting Him.

R Run from things that will draw you back into the desires of the sinful nature.

Running away holds a negative connotation, suggesting weakness. However sometimes, the strongest thing you can do is run. In Genesis 39, Joseph ran from his master’s wife so as not to give into sexual temptation.

“She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.”

OOngoing.

Faith isn’t a one time deal. We must work at it for the rest of our lives. “Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me…” Philippians 4:9

“. . .Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:12-13

T- Think like the enemy.

Any successful team or army learns all they can about their opponents. It is the same with us. First Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Satan will look for our weaknesses and prey upon them. That means we need to give thought to our individual tendencies. We must give special attention ahead of time—before temptation— to how we usually react to stress, loneliness, fatigue or confusion. We need to be on our guard, wearing the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).

EEndurance goes hand in hand with “ongoing.”

As we continue to put into practice our faith, our endurance grows stronger. Life isn’t a sprint, but a marathon. And Lord knows we need endurance.

“So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:4

CCommunity.

Being in community with other believers strengthens and protects our faith through accountability, opening our eyes to the needs of others, using our spiritual gifts, meeting our need for love and much more (Psalm 133:1, Romans 12:4-5, Hebrews 10:24-25, Galatians 6:2)

TTrust God.

We protect our faith as we learn to trust God more and more through an ever-growing relationship with Him. Remember, faith isn’t blind, but a combination between intellectual assent and trust.  For more on this read: https://beckielindsey16.com/2016/04/12/help-i-need-more-faith/

We protect that which we cherish and value. Do you need to reevaluate what you value most? How are you doing at protecting your faith? Comments welcome!

http://www.leahadams.org/the-loft-link-up-pot-luck-4/

http://www.create-with-joy.com/2016/05/inspire-me-monday-week-226.html

3 Surprising Ways To Boost Your Faith NOW

3 SURPRISING WAYS TO BOOST YOUR FAITH NOW

Life can bring us some difficult situations that can just about suck our faith dry.

When my mom died four years ago, my faith all but withered up and died too. You see, I depended on my mom’s spiritual wisdom and prayers more than I realized. When she went home to be with the Lord, not only was I experiencing extreme grief, but I began to question my own faith. Matters that I thought were settled seemed to resurface as my faith was tested.

Nine months after my mom died, my dad confessed he hadn’t been feeling well. A doctor visit confirmed that five of dad’s coronary arteries were blocked which meant open heart surgery. Only a few days after my dad was home from the hospital, my husband was hospitalized with pancreatitis!

I spent the night and most of the next day in the hospital with my husband. I left my husband in the doctor’s hands so that I could go back to my dad’s and continue my care of him. Later, my oldest son came to stay the night with my dad so that I could go home and get some much-needed rest.

Once at home and now ready for bed, the reality of what had transpired over the past few days set in. And so did fear.

Was I going to lose my mom, my dad, AND my husband within only a few months?

An unseen dark force tightened around my legs like a python, moving upward to my abdomen and finally to my throat. I was literally stifled with fear which abruptly turned to sheer panic. Next, my mind was annihilated with an onslaught of negative thoughts going sixty miles an hour. Then one thought—actually one word—became louder than everything else in my mind.

JESUS

All at once, it was as if my mother was in the room with me. I could even smell her! I looked around frantically. Of course, she wasn’t there; she was with the Lord. But I could still smell her. I sniffed my clothes thinking I had picked up her scent from staying at dads. No, I smelled awful. I hadn’t showered for two days since my husband went into the hospital.

I cannot tell you what exactly happened that night. What I do know is this: even though my faith had been rocked like never before, Jesus was there with me. I believe He used my mother’s scent to let me know that she was safe with Him and He would never leave me.

The next morning as I sat reflecting on my current trials, I was attacked in my mind once again. I cried out to God for help. My negative thoughts were causing me to feel I’d run out of faith yet again. Starting that morning and many more after that, the Lord helped pull me out of the pit of depression and strengthen my faith in an unusual way. It wasn’t with memorizing more scripture, going to church or prayer. Although those are great faith builders. Instead, He reminded me of a song my mom used to sing to me called ‘Count Your blessings.’

3 SURPRISING WAYS TO BOOST YOUR FAITH NOW

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

I suggest writing your blessings in a journal. You can use a spiral notebook, a composition book, or staple pages together. The important thing is to write them down.

When we write things down it does many things. First, it requires our full attention when we write. Second, it helps us see what we are really thinking and feeling. Third, it gives our thoughts more importance to write them down. Fourth, it serves as a reminder.

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord;   yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.”
Psalm 77:11

COUNTER NEGATIVE THOUGHTS

Negative thoughts threaten and weaken our faith. We must take those thoughts captive the moment they come to mind. Ask God to make you aware of them quickly.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

Replace a negative with a positive.

When a faithless thought comes in, take it captive and replace it with a positive. If you can’t think of one, open up your blessing journal and reflect on what God has done.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

ACTS OF KINDNESS AND SERVICE

Helping someone else takes your mind off of yourself. Not only will you build the other person’s faith, but it will boost yours too!

“…Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.”
James 2:18

Remember God gives each of us the same measure of faith. It’s a gift from Him that we cannot earn or manufacture on our own (Ephesians 2:8-9). He does, however, expect for us to exercise those faith muscles!

HOW ARE YOUR EXERCISING YOUR FAITH?
For more on faith see: See: https://beckielindsey16.com/2016/04/12/help-i-need-more-faith/


Please feel free to share in the comments below!

This post is linked to Literacy Musing Mondays: http://www.foreverjoyful.net/?p=1037

Inspire Me Monday http://www.create-with-joy.com/2016/04/inspire-me-monday-week-224.html

HELP! I NEED MORE FAITH

 

 

Help God! I Need More Faith https://wordpress.com/post/beckielindsey16.com/1746

Faith is a Gift from God

 

 “God, please help me. I need more faith.”

Over twenty years ago, this prayer was the catalyst to my faith journey.

“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

I concluded from this scripture that faith is the foundation of a Christian’s relationship to God. And I was desperate for more God, which meant I needed more faith.

WHAT IS FAITH?

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines faith as “a strong belief or trust in someone or something.”

Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines faith as “unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence; unquestioning belief in God, religious tenets.”

In the second definition, faith is believing in what you want to believe, yet cannot prove. Sadly, many people, including some Christians, live with this definition of faith. Perhaps it feels liberating to believe in anything you want to believe. In this case, no explanation is required, indeed, no explanation can be given; it’s just a matter of faith.

For others, such a definition of faith is sickening. Embracing faith means you stop thinking. As faith increases, cognitive reasoning disappears.

In both groups mentioned, the problem is the same. They’ve started with the wrong definition of faith.

WHAT IS GOD’S DEFINITION OF FAITH?

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

We can deduce from this scripture that faith is trusting in something you cannot explicitly prove. At first blush, this may seem to resemble the first group who believe whatever they want to believe. But let’s take a closer look.

In my research, I’ve discovered that the definition of faith actually contains two aspects.

Intellectual Assent (assent means to approve of something, especially after careful consideration)
Trust

A chair can be used to illustrate Intellectual assent and trust. Intellectual assent is recognizing that a chair is indeed a chair and agreeing that it is designed to support a person who sits in it. Trust is actually sitting in the chair.

Many people believe certain facts about Jesus Christ. Many will intellectually agree with the facts the bible and/or history declares about Jesus. But knowing those facts to be true is not what the Bible means by faith.

It is critical for us to understand that these two aspects—intellectual assent and trust—must partner for there to be what the bible calls faith.

“You say you have faith, for you believe there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.” James 2:19

Believing intellectually isn’t enough. The demons do that.

WHERE DOES FAITH COME FROM?

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Faith comes from God. We didn’t earn it or deserve it. It’s a gift.

Isn’t this great news? We don’t need to squeeze our eyes shut and try harder to manufacture something that God has already given us!

More scriptures on where faith comes from: Romans 12:3;6, Romans 10:17, 1 Corinthians 12:9; 13:2, Luke 22: 31-32

WHY DO SO MANY STRUGGLE WITH FAITH?

In 2 Corinthians 5:7, Paul says to “walk by faith and not by sight.” Remember, faith requires intellectual assent plus trust. So if we walk by faith, we believe intellectually and trust even what we cannot see.

The problem occurs when there is a contrast between truth and perception. Another way to put it is, what we know and believe to be true versus what we perceive to be true.

We may believe that Jesus walked the earth and performed miracles, and even died on the cross for the sins of all mankind. However, we cannot “see” or “perceive” Jesus atoning for our sins. And in fact, we cannot see or perceive many of the great truths of scripture, so we struggle with lack of faith. As a result of this lack of perception (what we cannot see with our eyes), our lives often don’t reflect that which we claim to believe.

Our perception can also become skewed when life throws us a curveball. When difficulties come. A job loss, a death, illness etc. We look around and ask questions like, “If God has ‘good’ plans for me then why did ____________happen?”

This leads me to my next point.

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU ASK FOR MORE FAITH

Expect Your Faith To Be Tested

Remember the chair illustration? What happens when the chair breaks? What I mean is this. Hard things are going to happen in life that challenges our faith in God. Our faith will be tested. The Bible is full of examples of how God tests people’s character, obedience, love, integrity, and faith. Abraham was tested when God asked him to offer his son Isaac. Hebrews 11 is full of other examples of faith that was tested.

“Character is both developed and revealed by tests, and all of life is a test.” Rick Warren

Think of faith like a muscle that needs to be exercised. Testing is one way that happens. Here are a few other ways:

Expect To Spend Time With God

Healthy faith requires a daily diet of the bread of life, living water and exercise—putting faith into practice.

 “Most Christians feed their body three hot meals a day and their spirit one cold snack a week. And they wonder why they’re so weak in faith.” F. Bosworth

Expect To Put The Amount Of Faith You Have Into Action

Don’t just read the Bible. Ask yourself how it applies to you personally and make necessary adjustments. Of course, this takes time and discipline.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22

“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:17

We are all given the same measure of faith as a gift from God. YOU CAN INCREASE YOUR FAITH. As you grow in your relationship with God, so will your faith!


How are you currently working on increasing your faith? Please share in the comments below.

 

This post is part of Literacy Musing Mondays: http://www.foreverjoyful.net/?p=1018 and

 

Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy: http://www.create-with-joy.com/2016/04/inspire-me-monday-week-223.html

http://mostlyblogging.com/bloggers-pit-stop-19/

http://www.leahadams.org/the-loft-link-up-spiritual-gifts/