Series 22


Faith to Fly

“I really wanted to fly,” Matt said. “So I prayed to God.” Not in an airplane-- like a bird. 

Jesus said: “If you have faith as a mustard seed you will say to this mountain: Move from here to there and it will move; nothing will be impossible for you.” Matt had more than a mustard seed of faith; he jumped from his bed. So what happened Matt? “It hurt.” He immediately went crashing to the floor.

Think about this. A ten-year old has enough faith in God to just leap into the air, fully trusting that God will allow him to actually fly. I like that kind of faith.

What went wrong? The Bible says: “Nothing will be impossible…” Well, flying was.  Matt and I discussed what his reaction to a successful flight would have been. “I would have said to my friends: Hey, look I’m flying!”

Now the reason for his crash is revealed. Scriptures say, “You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss.”  Matt definitely asked for the wrong reason.

The Bible says, “God looks down from heaven upon the children of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.”  If Matt had determined to seek God and understand Him, his “faith” would have not focused on flying like a bird.

The lack of a specific focus is many times the culprit in a sputtering faith life.  What are you believing “in faith” for God to accomplish in your life? 

Here’s the key. Apply the seek/speak formula for a faith-soaring experience. First, seek God so you will understand His objectives for your life. Once you sense God’s plan, start speaking faith-filled words that proclaim: “I trust God.”

And then you will be prepared to take off!


Is My Mom Dying?

She grabbed me and started crying. My mom had just returned home from a stay in the hospital.

I held her as she cried. When she stopped, the only question I could think to ask was, “What’s wrong?” With a tube feeding oxygen into her nose and a scowl on her face—directed at me, she cried some more. 

Sometimes questioning can seem uncompassionate. But my mind was pondering “What’s really going on?” And I was eager to inject a huge dose of trust in God and Bible-believing faith into the situation.

A week ago when I visited her, she said, “I’m feeling great.” Mom was on the go. And at age seventy-five she was learning computer skills for the first time. She had some health issues, but overall, life was good.

What happened?

She contracted the common flu and then started thinking pneumonia might be next. Soon, she was in the hospital. The doctor proclaimed: “Congestive heart failure.” Mom believed the doctor. Then fear unfurled its effects into her life.

I knew fear was seriously undermining my mom’s health. There is a Bible verse I have often recited to my Mom. “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

A week later, I spoke with my mom after her appointment with a heart specialist. She reported: “I don’t have congestive heart failure.”  Now her vigor was rapidly returning.

The facts caused the fear to dissipate. That method sometimes works. And sometimes “the facts” remain frightening. Regardless, God has provided a far superior approach. When “fear” enters into a situation, immediately reject it as not being from God. Keep rejecting it! Keep saying and believing what God has given every believer—power, love and a sound mind.


What's Your Number?

Please take a number and wait. Have all your documents ready.

“Number 17.” I looked around to see who was next.

Cane in hand, Percy slowly shuffled over to Leroy’s desk. Leroy, a volunteer for Tax Counselor for the Elderly, said: “I need to know your full name, address, social security number, age, the value of your home, property taxes levied, rent paid, total income, number of people who live with you, any disabilities, prescription drug costs, and your heating expenses.”

Percy set a crinkled grocery bag on the desk; stuffed with one-year’s worth of equally crinkled property tax receipts, check stubs, paid and overdue utility bills, social security statements, doctors bills, and an array of important and unimportant documents. Percy said: “I hope you can help me.”

This scenario parallels the spiritual lives of too many people.

The life-bag gets pretty stuffed. Crumpled in there are offenses, sins towards God and unresolved people problems. This is all mixed in with a whole realm of good and bad experiences. And when it comes to God, a person can feel very unsure of how things will eternally add up.

If we let our conscience freely speak, we become aware of the gap in our connection with God. Thankfully the Bible says, “There is one God, and there is one mediator between God and a person, the man Christ Jesus…”

Leroy patiently sorted through Percy’s paper bag. Leroy became Percy’s mediator through the complexity. He assured Percy of what he could expect.

Now, your number is being called.

Next. Bring your bag of confusion. You need help. I need help. We know Jesus earned the right to be our helper, our mediator to God. He died on the cross to prove His desire to aid us when we ask-- Jesus: “Please help me.”


Let's Fight

Right there in the restaurant, it was time for me to start a fight. Tommy needed to join in.

I had not seen Tommy in several months. We savored our meaningful reunion over lunch.

“I’m as close to God as I’ve ever been,” Tommy said. I didn’t wrinkle my forehead in disbelief, but my brain certainly did a few contortions. The reason?  As Tommy weaved together the events of the past few months, I assessed the truer picture of what was going on in his life.

He asserted: “Never closer to God.” Then he told me that he’s living with his girlfriend, that he had to lie to get his driver’s license back, he’s mad at the pastor of the church he no longer attends, he is not attending any church,  and he is burned-out because of seventy-hour work weeks.

And his once spontaneous personality which typically sparkled with contagious humor now seemed stale. This was not the Tommy I had shared some of my life’s most engaging God-conversations with.

Now, I’m not accusing Tommy of lying. But he is getting beat-up while his God-life erodes away. It’s fight time. And if I’m going to fight, I need instructions from my favorite fighter’s handbook. The Bible.

Here are some of its fighting words: “Fight the good fight of faith!” This is faith in God, in Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Nothing more battle worthy.

If a person’s life is all tangled in ungodly behavior and life debilitating living—mixed with confusion, one of the rounds may already be lost.

So…get up.  Get a plan.

Here’s a plan from that Faith-Fighters manual. “Flee from evil.” And then: “Pursue righteousness, pursue godliness, pursue faith, pursue love, pursue perseverance and pursue gentleness.”

When a person does this, one word comes to mind. VICTORY!


The Religious Uurge

Her soft, caring voice lifted my spirits. “I’m glad you called,” Marsden said.

I’ve made thousands of phone calls to newspaper editors to entice them to run my column Inspiration Point. Marsden had previously allowed me to send her my information, which included five columns.

Marsden continued: “They’re lovely.” I’m thinking, “Yes, she’s going to run my column.”  Then the tone of her voice shifted, “But they’re so religious.” She paused…“We live in a secular world.”

I disagree.

The Bible declares: “The whole earth is full of God’s glory” We live in a God-infused world.

I did not tell her this. I took a tack she could relate to. First I said, “I’m not trying to convince you to run my column.” I surmised the answer was already “no.” I told Marsden that I have talked to thousands of editors. The vast majority include faith sections in their publications. And even more newspapers are addressing their reader’s spiritual interests.  Adding: “Even the Wall Street Journal has a faith section.”

I was simply being factual--in an easy going manner. 

Then Marsden, who was previously convinced I was “too religious,” totally surprised me. “I’ll talk to the publisher,” she said. “We feel like we should do something regarding faith.”

Many people are like Marsden. They maintain that we live in a predominately secular world. But then they encounter the urge to: “Do something regarding faith.”

The Bible says: “God’s invisible qualities-- His eternal power and His divine nature, are clearly seen. They are perceived in the things that God has made. So people have no excuse at all!”

This reveals that this urge for God is initiated by God. Why struggle against God?  Engage in the God-life which keeps enticing you. As you sense God drawing you, ask Him for the next step.