Posts Tagged believers

Believers?

Psalm 107: 6

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He delivered them out of their distresses.

As the infamous Joan Rivers used to say, “Can we talk?” Between you and me, we are distressed from time to time, are we not? You can be honest with me. I know that you, like me, hurt and are troubled. We keep a brave face on but truly there are times we just have nothing left to give anyone. Those we have tried to help, those we have prayed for are the very authors of our distress. They take our obedience to our Lord and abuse us with it.

 
Do you think that our mothers and fathers of the faith did not also feel as we do; did not suffer the same severe doubt, sorrow and anguish that we do? Sure they did, so how did they become giants of faith and loyal to the Father?
Sooner or later we all have to make a decision. We have to choose whether or not we are going to believe God or not. Even more significantly, are we going to believe the Word? If I cannot believe the Word, if I have not made a solid decision to believe what it says then where shall I go for comfort? As for me, I have decided that God is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23: 19). Has He said it and will He not do it?

Today’s verse says that they cried out to the Lord and He delivered them. So, do we believe this or do we not? Do we believe that if we cry out to the Lord He will deliver us? Are we believers or not?

Reborn, Renewed, Alive in Christ

John 20: 30 -31

Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

John and the other writers of the gospels related some of the miracles of Jesus but John makes a point here to tell us that the miracles we read about in the gospels are by no means an exhaustive list of the many miracles Jesus performed. So, this question presents itself, “How many miracles does it take for one to believe?” We, who receive this daily devotional, are all believers in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God so somewhere along the line we must have seen enough evidence. Then John says that in our believing we should have life in the name of Jesus. What did he mean by that? He wasn’t talking to a bunch of physically dead people so he wasn’t talking about physical life. He was, however, speaking to spiritually dead people, people like us before we were saved. So this evidence of Jesus as the Messiah was supposed to infuse life into those who would believe, spiritual life.

When is salvation then? Will we be saved in the great by and by? We all talk about when we were saved (past tense) i.e. “I was saved in 1974,” “I was saved out at sea when a shipmate prayed for me,” etc. We have already been saved and given access to this life about which John writes. Salvation is not for tomorrow. We didn’t buy a ticket to salvation. We already have it today. You are living your eternal life in Christ right now. Your eternal life began the moment you received Jesus as Lord. So what is John really trying to get at in this passage? Do you think this is a simple message of salvation to the uninitiated or is there more here?  

One of the things that I think John is trying to get us to accept is that Jesus is a miracle worker. The believers of John’s time came to Jesus through his miracles. In other words, they saw and heard about the miracles that Jesus performed and through them they accepted that He is the King, Messiah and Lord. They first believed the miracles then they equated that miracle working power with his divine lordship. An interesting dynamic exists in our times. We believe that Jesus is Lord and through that confession of faith we try to believe that He is also a miracle worker. Many, however, are unconvinced of his power. They believe that He is the Christ but they do not believe in his ability to exercise miracle producing power today. Some do not even believe that the chronicles of Jesus’ miracles is a true account. They think the gospels are a fairy tale.

The third problem in our thought process is that some of us do not fully understand or appreciate that Jesus is alive. We have left him on the cross or in the grave but He is a resurrected Lord. He is alive and well. Without this revelation, by which I mean a clear and certain knowing in one’s heart as well as one’s mind, we cannot receive this life in Christ to which John is attempting to lead us. 

Jesus told us that he came in order to give us life, abundant life in fact (John 10: 10). This is what John is speaking about, the abundant life that is available in Christ Jesus to those who believe. But believe what? First that He is who He says He is, the resurrected Son of God, the promised Messiah, and second that He can do now what he did in the days before his crucifixion.

Miracles are still happening all over the world for those who believe. People are receiving sight from blind eyes just as they did when Jesus walked the earth. There are healings of every sort. Financial miracles abound, relationships are restored. All sorts of miracles are occurring, more than you can name. So I return to my first question, “How many miracles does it take for us to believe?” What is this life in Christ that John speaks of and how can we each live it. What did Jesus mean when he said, “abundant life?”

The life we live in the flesh is the low level of life but there is an abundant life overflowing with all of the blessings of God which is the free gift to whomever shall believe. This is the spiritual life, the renewed life. And with this new life in Christ Jesus every need is met, dreams and goals fulfilled, and a life of peace and joy. There is victory in Jesus, hence victorious living. All things become possible, life becomes easier and we can live a life where we feel fulfilled. Our lives are given purpose and we are satisfied even in the deep longing of our hearts. It is all available to he who believes. This life, this gift of a life in Christ, a life of abundance was the purpose of Jesus’ coming. If we are not living this life then why not? What does the body of Christ need in order to come into the life Jesus meant for us, died to give us?

The apostle John says that the secret is in our believing. We need to have our believers tweaked. Surely, the only way to do that is to renew ourselves in Jesus. We are going to have to seek him again as we did in the beginning. We need a renewal in our prayer life and in the Word. These are the two areas that we often let slide but which I am convinced are necessary for a life in Christ. It is only through communion with the Godhead that we are transformed in our hearts and in our thinking and can receive the revelations necessary for a rich, full existence in the person of Jesus. The hungry will seek and they will be fed. Jesus always fed the hungry. Do not settle for anything less than God’s best for you and He will fill you to overflowing as He has so often promised.

What to do?

John 6: 28 – 29

They said therefore to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

This week’s devotionals have touched on the “works of God.” We have mentioned briefly what they are not but in today’s passage Jesus tells us, succinctly, what the works of God are. The work of God is to believe in Christ whom God sent. It is easy to brush over this statement without giving it a great deal of thought but it is a key element in living a devoted and holy life, a life set apart. This statement should have Selah behind it meaning stop and think on this soberly before you move on.

In our flesh, we are creatures of action. The question we often pose is, “What am I to do?” Within that question is a presumption that the answer will contain an action verb. The answer Jesus gives us is that what we are to “do” is to believe. This is a tough answer for many of us. We are fixers. We want to engage our energy, our personalities and the strength in our bodies to “do” something. Our comfort zone is in reverting to “the work of our hands.” “Let me do something to fix this or to move this project forward.” It is very counter-intuitive that the response is to “do” nothing in the action sense of the word. Instead we are to be still and let God be God. Our part is to believe in the one whom He sent. This requires us to be actors in the realm of the Spirit rather than acting in the physical realm. How very odd and uncomfortable that is.

Let us take this one step further. What if the question posed is, “How do I please God?” Many of us have answered that question for ourselves with, “Do the works of God.” What are the works of God? To believe in His son. We usually rush off doing all sorts of “Good Works” but never please God because we have not done what He requires. He has called us all to become believers. This only happens in the still quiet of your prayer room. It is much more comfortable for us to run out and do something than to sit quietly with our Bibles and our Lord. The result is that we are becoming a body of doers rather than a body of believers. If you really want to please God, if you truly want to do the work of God then take the time to get alone with Him and build on your belief. Few of us are at the stage of believing to which God has called us. Once we develop our believing we will be able to accomplish more in our prayer closets than we ever could in running around “working.”

The Kingdom of God is in the spiritual realm. Therefore, in order to do the work of the kingdom you too will need to operate in the spiritual realm. Fear not though for Jesus is the king of this realm and your own big brother and personal confidant. Let him lead you and instruct you. Listen to him before you move. Inquire of him in all things. Then you will find your right path. Take some time to develop your spirit through prayer, study and meditation. Increase in believing. This is the work of God.