Girlfriends in God - July 26, 2010

July 26, 2010 

Faith Believes God 

Part 1 

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth 
Isaiah 7:9 (NCV) "If your faith is not strong, you will not have strength enough to last."

Friend To Friend 
Our life may be deemed successful and powerful by man's standards, but when it comes to faith, only an eternal perspective and a holy standard will do.  Authentic faith produces authentic power.  Faith is active - never idle.  We talk a lot about faith, but the real question is - do we live it? 

In his book, "Holy Sweat," Tim Hansel shares the following story of faith.  "One day, while my son Zac and I were out in the country, climbing around in some cliffs, I heard a voice from above me yell, "Hey Dad!  Catch me!"  I turned around to see Zac joyfully jumping off of a rock straight at me.  He had jumped and then yelled, "Hey Dad!"  I became an instant circus act, catching him.  We both fell to the ground.  For a moment after I caught him, I could hardly talk.  When I found my voice again, I gasped in exasperation: "Zac!  Can you give me one good reason why you did that?"  He responded with remarkable calmness: "Sure - because you're my Dad."  His whole assurance was based on the fact that his father was trustworthy.  He could live life to the hilt because I could be trusted."

The kingdom of God is not just a topic for discussion.  The faith through which we live should be undeniable proof that God is alive and well.  Faith believes God.

Faith believes God is who He says He is.

Matthew 14:18-21 (NCV) "Jesus said, "Bring the bread and the fish to me."  He then told the people to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and the two fish and, looking to heaven, He thanked God for the food.  Jesus divided the bread and gave it to His followers, who gave it to the people.  All the people ate and were satisfied.  Then the followers filled twelve baskets with the leftover pieces of food.  There were about five thousand men there who ate, not counting women and children." 

Weak faith is not quite sure that God really is God.  Did Peter believe that Jesus was who He said He was?  It is interesting to notice where Peter was before he stepped into that boat.  He was with Jesus, in the middle of a miracle.  Jesus had just learned that His disciple and friend, John the Baptist, had been murdered by King Herod.  Needing time alone, Jesus "left in a boat and went to a lonely place by himself" but when He arrived, crowds of people had gathered to meet Him.  Setting aside his own needs, Jesus had compassion on the people and healed those who were sick.

When evening came, the disciples, realizing they were out in the middle of nowhere, with no restaurants, no homes and no food, urged Jesus to send the people home to eat.  Jesus had another plan in mind.  He told the disciples to feed the people.  Their response was faithless.  "But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish." 

At this point, it is important to realize that these very same men had personally witnessed Jesus perform miracle after miracle.  He had healed the sick, made the blind to see, and the lame to walk.  He had calmed a storm, raised a young girl from the dead, convinced demon-possessed pigs they could fly and then empowered the disciples to perform the same kind of miracles He had performed before their very eyes.  Jesus had healed Peter's mother-in-law, and still, the disciples didn't fully believe that God really was God. 

Jesus took the five loaves of bread and two fish, blessed them and turned the meager snack into a feast for thousands - with baskets of food left over.  Scripture tells us that Jesus then told the disciples to get in the boat while He dismissed the lingering crowd and went to the mountainside to pray.  I believe He prayed, not only in response to John's death, but for His disciples.

When the boat was about four miles from shore, a storm sprang up.  Even though these men were experienced fishermen and no strangers to storms, a small boat on stormy seas is terrifying and dangerous.  I imagine the disciples were more afraid of the unknown than they were of the storm.  Yes, Jesus sent them into the storm.  Why?  Perhaps He was setting the stage for another faith-building miracle, proving once again, that God really is who He says He is.  Don't miss tomorrow's devotion!

Let's Pray 
Father, forgive me when I doubt You.  I pray Your peace will replace fear in my heart.  I do not want to believe the lies of the enemy.  Please guard my mind and help me to grow in faith so that others will see You and Your power at work in my life.

In Jesus' name, 

Now It's Your Turn 
As our faith grows stronger, we begin to see God at work every day.  Think back over the week.  List three circumstances in which you saw God's hand.  

Read and memorize the following verses:  

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:24 "The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it."   

  • Hebrews 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

More From The Girlfriends 
The Bible is filled with miracles and stories of men and women who were healed by Jesus - even though their faith was weak.  That encourages me.  However, the faith of others is not my standard.  God sets that benchmark.  Join me in a new commitment to walk in faith.

Need help?  Check out Mary's DVD, Strength for the Storm.

Are you seeking God?  Join other women across the world in Mary's Online Bible Study, Light for the Journey.  When you enroll, you will also have access to all of the 2010 studies. Check it out!

Need hope?  Get Mary's book, Hope in the Midst of Depression for ways to climb out of that pit you are in and learn how you can help someone you love who is dealing with the darkness.   

Need a friend?  Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.  She loves hearing what God is doing in your life!

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Girlfriends in God
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Matthews, NC 28106

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Originally published Monday, 26 July 2010.