Daily Archives: November 21, 2013

Strengthening Your Faith

Scripture Reference: James 5:17-18

 

“Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops”.

Just as a baby has all the muscles she will ever have at birth, as a new, born-again believer, you received all the faith you will ever need.  We are each given a measure of faith (Romans 12:3).  However, some have a larger faith (not necessarily more) because they have exercised, stretched, and strengthened what they were given.  When the disciples failed to cast out a demon and asked Jesus the reason for their failure, He answered, “Because you have so little faith.”  This was not the quantity of their faith but the quality – their faith needed more exercise. Jesus went on to say, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Let’s consider two Bible verses.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17) and “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3). Do you have the faith to believe those two promises?

Hebrews chapter 11 is filled with men and women in the Bible who believed God, but perhaps my favorite New Testament walk down the Old Testament memory lane is in James 5:17-18.  “Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”  What’s so special about that passage? To me, it’s not that he prayed about the rain. It’s those three little words, “just like us.”  He was just like us!  He didn’t have more faith, but He had strong faith.

As we renew our minds with the Word of God and then put what we have learned into practice, our faith will grow stronger.  James wrote, “Faith without works is useless” (James 2:20).  In other words, if we simply say that we believe something in our minds, but do not appropriate or demonstrate it in our actions, it does not bring life to us or to those around us.  As we exercise our faith, it grows stronger.

Exercise the faith you have been given.  Find one promise in Scripture, confess it, believe it and make it yours.  Then pick another, then another and another.  Soon that mustard seed of faith will take root, shoot toward the sky, sprout branches and produce a bumper crop of fruit.

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Potter and the Clay

Text: Isaiah 64:8

But Lord, You are our father. We are like clay, and You are the potter; Your hands made us all. Isaiah 64:8

When it comes to spiritual matters God is the Potter, the Creator and we are the clay. He uses the circumstances of our lives to pound, mold, stretch and shape us according to His vision alone.

God used the relationship between a potter and his clay to illustrate to the prophet Jeremiah His sovereignty and how He works in the lives of His children to accomplish His perfect plan:“So I went down to the potter’s house and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the Word of the Lord came to me: ‘Can I not do with you as this potter does?’ declares the Lord. ‘Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in My hand’”(Jere 18:3-6).

Just as in the days of Jeremiah God still longs for His children to find and live out His plan for our lives, a plan that is far beyond anything we can possibly imagine or conceive on our own. And just as the children of Israel rebelled against God’s plan, we tend to doubt His heart and think our frail human plans are better. We sometimes willingly submit to the gentle pressure of the Potter’s hands and other times we dig in our heels and refuse to budge. Jeremiah understood that God was the Potter and had total control over the shape of the clay. “Can the pot say of the potter, ‘He knows nothing’?” (Isaiah 29:16). Of course not, but we often forget that truth. How foolish it would be for the clay to grumble or rebel but we do. Still the Potter is faithful and so patient as He continues to mold the clay. If the clay begins to harden in its unfinished state, the Potter loves the clay enough to let it be crushed by the pressures of life. He then sprinkles it with the replenishing water of His presence and power and begins to mold His creation again.

Because God is a loving father who is more committed to our character than He is to our comfort, godly discipline must often come into play. Although God has the ability to directly give us understanding His usual teaching method involves more of a “hands on” approach. We gain wisdom as God teaches us His Word and then follows through with application in our daily lives.

The only way for us to become all God desires us to be is to remain pliable in the Potter’s hands. When we try to shape ourselves we fail miserably and often settle for so much less than God has in mind. The Potter wants to create something eternally beautiful. In fact, He wants to make us more like His Son, Jesus.

If we could only trust that His shaping is so much better than anything we could ever create. But in our pride we honestly think we can do better.

All of us have rough edges that need to be removed. We may even need to be broken and crushed so the Potter’s masterful hands can begin again. I have been there many times and can honestly look back and say that the beauty God eventually brought forth was worth the pain.

Total surrender demands that we place ourselves in the Potter’s hands with no agenda, no condition giving Him permission to bend us, break us, and change us. As we give up control to Him like a Master Craftsman He begins to work patiently and lovingly, with a specific plan and design in mind. He works through circumstances as well as people, through joy and pain, victory and defeat. He filters every part of our circumstances through His plan, to create in us a life of worth and meaning and purpose.

When we try to direct our lives according to our own agendas and plans we experience only discontent and frustration. Our soul longs for more and our heart cries out, “Is this all there is?” The truth is that nothing and no one but God can bring us the peace and joy for which we are searching. Are you ready to become the clay and surrender your broken life to the Potter’s loving hands? Today is the day.

Copyright 2013 @ Daily Devotional. All rights reserved.
http:/www.fayannswearing.wordpress.com