Tag Archives: Faith works

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.



Faith works


“Do you love me?” she asked. He replied, “I told you I did when I married you! And if that ever changes, I’ll let you know.”


We’d be astonished to hear such a conversation! Why? Because real love doesn’t express itself once. It keeps on loving and continually expresses itself in ever deeper ways. It may be bold and demonstrative or it may be gentle and quiet, but it is never passive. Real love is always active.


That is how faith should be also. Real faith is active.

Faith works…always.


That was evident in the life of Philemon. Paul says, “I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers because I hear about your faith…and your love.” (Philemon vs 4)  Philemon lived a “legacy life” that positively impacted others. There was something genuine and famous about the way he lived. Love and faith were the foundation upon which his reputation was built. We don’t know if he was a prominent leader or businessman. We don’t know if he had a great memory for sports trivia or if he was skilled with his hands. We don’t know if his lawn was always pristine and well-kept, whether he drove the latest model of mule and cart, or if he had a large account at The First Bank of Jordan. But we know he was known for his faith and love. Like a ripple that continued spread across the water, his faith touched and refreshed the hearts of others in his path. (V 7) Isn’t that the legacy you desire most?


We are called to be active in sharing our faith. It is our path to gaining real understanding of what it means to be Christian. Sharing real faith refreshes the hearts of others. And it’s a needed reminder to us of what we believe, to whom we belong, and what our purpose is this very day.


“Faith works” means it perseveres, it carries on, it doesn’t give up. Real faith is actively applied to the efforts and struggles of our day. We approach problems and trials, suffering and woes, doubts and fears, all through the working of our faith.


“Faith works” also means it solves problems, it succeeds, it wins, it is functional. When faith is placed in a Mighty God, faith becomes mighty.


And faith brings understanding. In fact, that was Paul’s prayer for his friend, “that you may be active in sharing your faith so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” (V 6) And the understanding of all we have in Christ leads us to love others as he loves them.


Real faith works and is active. It impacts others when it is expressed in love. In fact, faith expressing itself in love is the only thing that ultimately matters. (Galatians 5:6) Real faith isn’t obnoxious or hurtful. It doesn’t judge. (That is God’s job.) But it isn’t kept to itself. Real faith is active and loving.


How would you describe your faith? How would others describe it? Is it sedentary like the one who professed their love for another and decided to marry, but never acted on that love? Or is it a faith that is actively played out throughout the course of every day? Do you keep your faith to yourself in a way that others would be surprised to learn that you are a Christian? Or is it evident to all because your faith works?


Live a legacy life marked by an active faith that works. Be active in sharing your faith in a winsome and genuine way so that you gain a full understanding of all you have in Jesus.


Courage Perseveres

Have I not commanded you? be strong and courageous. do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. For The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9


In his book, Facing Your Giants, Max Lucado tells the story of Florence Chadwick’s 1952 attempt to swim the cold waters between Catalina Island and the California shore. Battling fog, choppy seas, and muscle cramps, she ended her challenge swim before reaching her goal despite her mother’s encouragement from the boat to continue on. Minutes after she got into the boat the fog lifted and they discovered they were only a half mile from shore. “All I could see was the fog,” she explained at a news conference. “I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”

There have been a number of times during the Leukemia treatments that I felt I was swimming against the currents, seeing very little ahead of my present situation. Fog is a darkness that hides things. Who would have known during the darkest moments of this last week, that the sight of recovery and discharge was only days away? In such trials, we learn that faith carries us because it perseveres. In short, faith doesn’t lie around; faith works!

What ‘shore’ are you reaching for right now? If the fog of life is hiding that shore from your eyes, ask God to shine His light to show you the path to your goal. He sent Jesus for this very reason.

Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 3:13–14