Fair-weather Faith (Part 1)

Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?” The disciples were terrified and amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!”

Luke 8:25 New Living Translation

You have heard of fair-weather friends; friends which are only around when everything is going well. In spiritual matters there is a fair-weather faith; faith which is only around when everything is going well. Fair-weather faith is the worst kind of faith to have because it leaves you at the first sign of trouble. Fair-weather faith leaves you at the first sign of distress. Fair weather faith leaves you at the first sign of pain.

The children of Israel had fair-weather faith in the wilderness. When they did not see any water they complained to Moses about dying of thirst. When they did not see any food they complained to Moses about dying of hunger. When they heard of the high walls and the giants in the Promised Land they complained to Moses about bringing them out of Egypt to die.

God does not want our faith to change when the weather changes. God does not want our faith to change when our home environment changes. God does not want our faith to change when our work environment changes. God wants our faith to be steadfast and unmovable no matter what is happening around us.

Get Moving!

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!

Exodus 14:5 New Living Translation

What do we do when we are faced with an obstacle? Do we stop and complain? Do we blame someone else? Do we turn back? After the Israelites left Egypt they moving further and further away from their enemies. They were moving further and further away from the place which caused them and their ancestors distress and pain for more than 400 years. They did not complain to Moses or God until the Egyptians started to follow after them. They did not complain until they were faced with their enemies on one side and the Red Sea on the other. The children of Israel said:

“Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt?

Exodus 14:10-11 New Living Translation

The children of Israel were caught between “a rock and a hard place” and they blamed Moses for their predicament. They were at a standstill. There was no other way they could go to escape the Egyptians. Moses tried to encourage the people with these words:

“Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

Exodus 14:13-14 New Living Translation

Moses told the children of Israel to stand still but God told Moses to tell them to do something completely out of the ordinary:

Tell the people to get moving!

Exodus 14:15

It was the will of God for the people to “get moving”. It was the plan of God for Israel to move forward. There are times when it is the will of God to stop and there are times when it is the will of God for us to move. However, we must always keep this overcoming secret in our minds:

God’s instructions to stop or to move do not depend on whether or not there are obstacles in front of us. God’s instructions to stop or to move depend on His will and His plan for us.

Secrets of the Overcoming Life

Obstacles never prevented God from doing anything on the earth and they never will.

  • The darkness in the beginning did not prevent God from saying “Let there be light”.
  • The barrenness of Sarah’s womb did not prevent God from saying ”
    Sarah, will have a son!” (Genesis 18:10)
  • The power of death on the earth did not prevent God from saying ”
    He [Jesus] will be killed, but three days later he will rise from the dead.” (Mark 9:31)

If God has not told us to stop then it is time to “Get Moving”. Whether we are faced with a Red Sea or a storm in the sea, it is time to “Get Moving”. God will move the Red Sea and God will calm the storm but we must decide to move forward. This is not the time to give up or to turn back. This is the time to stand strong in faith and move towards the Promised Land.

The Christmas Story: What is your Motivation? (Part 2)

It is Christmas! No other season motivates persons like the Christmas season. The Christmas season motivates persons to shop more, to clean more and to give more. The Christmas season motivates persons to decorate their homes and properties with lights and Christmas-themed items. The Christmas season motivates families to spend more time with each other. The Christmas season motivates persons to show love towards each other.

The Christmas season is indeed a wonderful season. However, let us not forget that there would be no Christmas if there was no Christmas story. There would be no Christmas if God was not motivated to send His Son to live on the earth. There would be no Christmas if God was not motivated to chose the virgin Mary to carry His Son, Jesus Christ.

There would be no Christmas if Mary did not believe the message from the Angel Gabriel. There would be no Christmas if God did not motivate Joseph to take Mary as his wife even though he found out that she was pregnant before they were married. There would be no Christmas if Caesar Augustus was not motivated to declare that “a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire” (Luke 2:1 NLT). There would be no Christmas if Joseph was not motivated to travel to Bethlehem.

There would be no Christmas if Joseph and Mary were not motivated to use a stable as the place for Mary to give birth to Jesus. There would be no Christmas if the Angels were not motivated to announce the birth of Jesus to the Shepherds by singing:

“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

Luke 2:14 NLT

There would be no Christmas if the Shepherds were not motivated to leave the field and go see Jesus. There would be no Christmas if the wise men were not motivated to follow the star to the place where Jesus was.

Let us think about it for a moment. The songs (Hark the Herald Angels Sing and others), the wise men and the star and the nativity scene. All of these things make Christmas special. All of these things motivate us during the Christmas season to celebrate Christ and to spread love and cheer. None of those things would be present without the Christmas story and there would be no Christmas story without the One Who put the story together.

What is your motivation? God was motivated by His great love for us to put the Christmas story together and God wants us to be motivated by that story to live an overcoming life of faith, hope and love.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

Your Spiritual Growth was Designed by God

In the beginning God said:

Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation–every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened.

Genesis 1:11 New Living Translation

God designed plants and trees to produce seeds which would produce other plants and trees. As human beings we expect an apple seed which is planted in the ground to grow into an apple tree. We expect the same result with other seeds. God also expects the same result because that is the way He designed it.

God designed human beings to produce human beings which would produce other human beings. As human beings we expect children to grow into adults. God also expects the same result because that is the way He designed it.

God also designed human beings to produce spiritual fruit which would cause them to grow spiritually. God designed human beings to receive the Word of God in their hearts to produce spiritual fruit. God designed human beings to receive the Word of God in their hearts to produce faith. Faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ (Word of Salvation) produces salvation.  

God expects the gospel of Jesus Christ to produce persons who believe in Christ. God expects the gospel of Jesus Christ to produce persons who grow into the image of Christ. God expects that result because that is the way He designed it. The Apostle Paul told the Church at Rome:

For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

Romans 8:29 New Living Translation

Are you a Christian? Then your spiritual growth was designed by God. Your spiritual growth was designed by God from the beginning of the world. A stove is designed to produce a flame or heat which can cook food. A fridge is designed to keep things cold. God expects you to grow spiritually. God expects you to grow and grow until you become like Christ. This is the expected end that God has designed for all Christians. 

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Jeremiah 29:11 King James Version

What is your Motivation? (Part 1)

For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.

John 6:38 New Living Translation

What motivates you as a Christian? What motivates you to stay devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ? What motivates you to continue to follow God even in the midst of adversity?

We all need motivation at some point in time. We all need a desire to move forward; a desire to move forward which is present in the absence of strength; a desire to move forward which is present in the absence of encouragement. Motivation enables us to accomplish a task in spite of obstacles. Therefore, motivation is essential to living an overcoming life.

Motivation is essential to living an overcoming life!

Motivation was essential to the work of Christ in the earth. Jesus always had a reason for doing what He did:

  • At 12 years old, He had a reason for being in the Temple even though His parents had left Jerusalem.
  • At 30 years old he had a reason for going to John the Baptist to be baptised in water even though He had no sin. 

What was Jesus’ Motivation?

Jesus was motivated by the Will of God. Jesus always wanted to do the will of God in every situation and in every season. When His parents asked Him why He had caused them to be searching all over Jerusalem for Him Jesus said:

“But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

Luke 2:49 New Living Translation

When John the Baptist asked Him why He was coming to him for baptism Jesus said:

“It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.”

Matthew 3:15 New Living Translation

Jesus always focused on doing the will of God. Jesus always wanted the will of God to be done in His life. Doing the will of God was always His reason for living. Motivation caused Jesus to live an overcoming life. God wants us to live an overcoming life but we need motivation. We need a reason to live an overcoming life. We need a reason to overcome obstacles. We need a reason to resist temptation. Jesus knew His motivation. As followers of Jesus we need to answer the question:

What is my Motivation?