Tag Archives: do you believe

Do you believe you can?


Like most kids my age, I grew up on “The Little Engine That Could” who, in face of a tough challenge,  kept repeating, “I think I can, I think I can,” until he could finally proclaim, “I thought I could, I thought I could.” Disney taught us, “When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are, anything your heart desires will come to you.”


As I grew older, I was influenced by the positive thinking mantra of Norman Vincent Peale.   Meredith Wilson brought us the delightful musical, The Music Man, which had con man Harold Hill telling his students,  “you don’t have to bother with the notes.” Instead he taught them his “Think System,” which stated all you had to do was think it and it would happen. In recent years the mantra of many motivational speakers has been, “If you believe it you can achieve it.” Over and over we’re taught that road blocks don’t have to stop you. Find a way to get over them, around them, or through them. Be positive and it will all work out.



Actually, there’s something to be said for the power of positive thinking. At least it sure beats the failure of negative thinking. But will a “think system” help you accomplish all your dreams? If you simply believe you can, will you be able to accomplish the impossible?


With God all things are possible. Going to the source of that quote we find Jesus answering a rich man’s question about how to get to heaven. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) That is, if it’s God’s will that something be done he can and will do it. Do you believe it?


Maybe you’re saying, “Yes, I have a faith that is real and strong and true, but I don’t see the power. My prayers are still unanswered.” Maybe you ask, “How do I get a bigger faith?” I’ve asked that question. But a bigger faith isn’t necessarily the answer. Jesus taught us if we have the faith of a tiny mustard seed, we could move mountains.  (Matthew 17:20) Move an actual mountain? Do you  think of yourself as the doubting, “ye of little faith” or as one with faith the size of a mustard seed, that can move the mountains in your life? In other words, do you believe what you think and say you believe or do you know that without a doubt your faith is real and powerful? That’s what Jesus said. Do you really believe it to be true in your life?


The truth is our faith can move mountains, IF moving mountains is what God wants to do. But this mountain moving faith is not in ourselves. Scrunching up our face and straining our muscles will not move the mountain anymore than the branches of a grape vine “work out” to produce grapes. Our faith produces fruit when we abide in the vine (John 15) and our faith is placed in what God desires.


And still, James tells us that faith doesn’t sit idle. It works. All throughout scripture we’re told that real faith:

Faith feeds the hungry, shelters the homeless, visits the sick and those in prison, clothes the naked, gives to others when a brother is in need, has mercy on the poor, gives drink to the thirsty, bears each others’ burdens. (Matthew 25:25-40, Isaiah 58:10, Luke 2:14-18, Luke 3:11, 1 John 3:17-18, Proverbs 31:20, 4:31, Romans 12:20, Galatians 6:2) Real faith works. Do you believe it?


In each person’s life there comes a moment of truth when we determinedly decide to act on what we believe or hide in the shadows of denial; when we choose the will to face our fears and anxieties with action, or we cower in unbelief.


With God all things are possible.


But what happens when God moves in his mysterious ways and your pain and troubles  continue unresolved? When the cancer isn’t healed? When your friend’s grief will not be abated? When your pain finds no peace? It is then that he will see you through the struggle.


It takes courage to believe and more so to act on it. Don’t hold on to your mustard seed. Plant it, nourish it, and let it grow. Keep on believing. Your journey’s not done yet. And neither is the entire plan of God for you yet completed.


Whatever mountains you face, keep on believing. Don’t worry if your faith is small. Let it be real by acting on it.



If I tell you, you will not believe me


Incredulous! Unbelievable!

What memories and images do those words bring to your mind? You might reflect on the great feats of someone who overcomes extreme challenges or accomplishes what seemed like an impossible goal. Maybe you look back on a time when all seemed lost and the darkness prevailed and then suddenly, a bright light appeared.


Luke describes the incredible acts of Jesus as he healed the blind, cured the sick, and raised the dead. He describes how his followers walked closely with him and yet often “missed the boat” when it came to understanding his purpose. From our perspective it might seem unbelievable! In fact in Luke 21, we read that one of his followers betrayed him. He was arrested. Peter denied him. Others hid in fear of persecution. Jesus was put on trial. They mocked him and abused him, this man who just shortly before was hailed by the people who sang, “Hosannah in the highest” at his entrance into the city. How could this life that was destined to greatness take such an unbelievable turn for the worse? After mistreating him all night long, the leaders said to him, “If you are the Christ, tell us.” Jesus replied, “If I tell you, you will not believe me.”


People walked with him. They heard how he spoke with such great authority. They watched him perform miracles that were unbelievable and yet at the same time undeniable. A man was blind but now he sees. Another was paralyzed but now walks. The unclean were made clean and the dead were brought to new life. And still, some did not believe.


The most profound question in the world is, “Who do you say Jesus is?” Our answer determines our life and our destiny. If we say, he was just a good teacher, we are deceived. For what good teacher, knowing he was no more than that would say he was the Son of God and lead his followers in deception? He could not be both a good teacher and a liar.


If we say he was insane and deluded we are dumbfounded. How would such a man have performed so many miracles? Why would his disciples have followed him to death? Why do some still “count everything as loss” to follow him with such devotion and power to overcome? Do you know of any other insane person whose words and power continue to transform lives?


If we say he is Lord then we must be driven to follow him. For how can we call him “Lord” and still go our own way?


The question is, “Do I believe Jesus is who he said he was?” We always act on what we deeply believe. If we sing, “All for Jesus” but live “All for me” then what we really believe is revealed. If we pray “Your will be done” but live as if “MY will be done” our heart’s real desire is made known.


Jesus continues to tell us who he is. He reveals himself in scripture, in creation, in the events of life, through his Spirit, and through others around us. We recognize him when we see others with compassion, when we’re compelled to live beyond ourselves, and whenever a simple tear of joy come to our eye. We see him in his magnificent and unbelievable sunrises and sunsets and in the innocent laugh of a child. He reveals himself in the darkness of sorrow and pain and find him there with us in our loneliness.


His words continues to woo us, inspire us, strengthen and challenge us. His amazing grace continues to surprise and sustain us. His transformational power changes us. His light guides us. His strength lifts us up when we are ever so weary. His promise gives us hope. His peace calms our noisy souls and transcends all our understanding.


In light of all this and more, will you believe him today for all he is and all you need? Believe the “unbelievable” and find your reason for living…in his power.