Freedom – Hard but Worth It

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James 1:2-4 (MSG)

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. 

Its Hard:

Our values are worth fighting for.  What we value is worth going through the hard things for.  Any success or significance that occurs in our lives wont just happen, but require doing the hard things.

Its worth it:

When we face difficult circumstances.  When we go through the tests and challenges of life, it can seem arbitrary and uncesseccary, but if we have the right perspective and the let the hardships be our teacher instead of our enemy it will be worth it.  

We must look at the obstacles as opportunities and the problems as possabilities.

We will find that the results of the hardships are developed faith, strong resolve, determination and patient perserverence.

Its hard but its worth it.

Freedom has a Cost:

Freedom is a powerful word.  To be free is to be unencumbered by external control.  To not be enslaved.  It sounds so easy.  It sounds just like a decision and mostly, it sounds free.  Although freedom is a gift, and it is a powerful force in life, and may make us free, its not free.

Being a person who travels the world and has seen the difference between the USA and so many other nations, I am truly thankful to live in this great nation.  A Nation that was founded on the idea that all men are created equal and are free to Pursue life, liberty, and happiness.  

But Freedom is not Free

We are free to Believe and express our religeous beliefs freely.  We are free to speak our mind. We are free to assemble.  We are free to do so many things.  We are free from so many things.

Thank God today in America although not perfect, it is a beacon of freedom around the world.

But Freedom is not free.

There has always been and will always be tyrannical power hungry, corrupt people and systems who desire to enslave and control others.  Whether they be nations, terrorist, abusers, traffickers, perpertrators of poverty, or individual control and fear mongers there will never be a shortage of freedom thieves.

However as long as there are those, there will also be others who have a deep God given desire for freedom in the depths of their soul, and will stand their ground, and speak up for those who have no voice and speak out for the down and out, and fight the good fight, to win freedom for themselves and for others.  There will always be freedom fighters.

Because freedom is not free.  Freedom is Hard but its worth it.

It’s easy for us to take freedom for granted, because we know nothing else. 

This generation and many before it in the USA don’t know the bondage of tyranny, or slavery. We don’t understand what it’s like to be confined in our speech, or beliefs or, mobility. We don’t know what it’s like to be controlled by an external power telling us every move to make. 

Rather, we know the privelege of freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom to decide, freedom to believe, freedom to take the opportunities afforded us, freedom to be educated, freedom to live where we want, so many freedoms that we are immersed in and don’t even understand or realize them as freedoms. 

Although we live everyday in these freedoms we don’t have to pay the price for them. 

But Freedom is not Free

I think we would respect and appreciate freedom a lot more if we aknowleged that even though we don’t have to pay for the freedoms we enjoy, someone did have to pay for them and someone still has to pay to maintain them.

Condalisa Rice Said…

   

Now, to be sure, the burdens of leadership have been heavy.
I know, as you do, the sacrifice of Americans, especially the
sacrifice of many of our bravest in the ultimate sacrifice, but
our armed forces are the surest shield and foundation of
liberty, and we are so fortunate that we have men and women in
uniform who volunteer, they volunteer to defend us at the front
lines of freedom, and we owe them our eternal gratitude. 

I am grateful for the men and women and families who sacrifice so much to protect and defend this great nation and its freedoms.  Men and women who are cut from a different cloth. They have an incredible sense of duty.  A deep seated bravary.  A root of responsabiity for the protection and advancement of freedoms way of life.  A root that runs deep and grows into an enormous tree of freedom that extends its branches to provide shade for all those who would gather under it, and produces fruit of opportunity, education, and empowerment for a nation.  

These men and women put themselves in a place of vulnerabiliity for the sake of our security.  These men and women and their families make sacrifices that few understand for the sake of the freedoms of all of us who enjoy them.  These beautiful, faithful, loyal men and women of all of our miliatry branches are owed a debt of grattitude, by every single individual who reaps the benifits of their labor.  

The bible tells us in Romans that we shoud give honor where it is due.  We honor these men and women because freedom isn’t free, and they have and are paying the price for it.

Whether they are fallen in battle, or served in the past, or currently serve or are newly inlisted we honor them because they honor this nation and what it stands for by their service to it.  
Freedom isn’t freee…Its hard but its worth it.  

Our founding fathers in founding this nation of free people did so at the risk of their very own lives. 

In reference to the occupation of the founding of our nation and the resulting response of the british government Benjamin franklin said to his partners…

“We must all hang together, or we will all hang seperately”  meaning if we are not all in, and unified we will surely die for what they consider a treasonous act.

From then until now many have put their very life on the line for our freedom.  

They were able to do this because they had a mind to fight for freedom.  

They understood freedom isn’t free and although its hard, its worth it.

Benjamin Franklin said…

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Patrick Henry Said…

“Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death! 

They were so completely given to the cause of freedom it empowered their every thought and was the filter through which they saw every thing.  To the degree that they wanted every child to know, embrace and live out freedoms cause.

John Adams Said…

“Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.”

An Incredible Gift:  

As we can see freedom is an incredible gift to us.  A gift that has made our way of life possible.  A gift that has given us opportunities that others are not afforded.  A gift that causes our great nation, our young nation, to take its place in a very short time as nations go, atop of the list of nations of influence.

Not the Best Gift:

External freedom is a great blessing but not the greates gift.  There is a freedom that is greater.  A freedom that is eternal and not temporal.  A freedom that far supercedes any type of earthly freedom…

Ronald Reagen said…

Democracy is less a system of government than it is a system to keep government limited, unintrusive; a system of constraints on power to keep politics and government secondary to the important things in life, the true sources of value found only in family and faith.”  

A Greater Freedom:

I submit to you today that there is a greater freedom than external freedom.  It is Internal freedom, spiritual freedom.  There are many who enjoy the gift of external freedom but don’t understand or live in internal freedom, spiritual freedom.

The bible calls this freedom Salvation.  Many use the terminolgy being saved.  The greek word is Sozo – to save, make safe, make whole, to heal, or be whole.  The theological term is regeneration, which means spiritual rebirth.  It is what Jesus talked about in John 3 when He told a man by the name of nicodemus, how to be saved (be in true relationship with God) “You must be born again.”  Nicodemus asked him, “How can I, an old man go back into my mothers womb” Jesus explained that to be in relatiobnship with God we had to know christ and in knowing him, believing him, we would have a spiritual encounter that results in being born spiritually.  Saved, made whole, changed, reborn.  

This is the beginning of true internal freedom.  Its not religion or religeous ideas that make us free.  Its faith in Christ alone that makes us free.  It saves us from the enslavement of sin, and destruction.  It sets us free from the perils of life without God.  It releases us from the chains of shame and guilt and binds us to Jesus with cords of love.

Freedom however isn’t free.  Its hard but its worth it.

We can’t earn salvation, spiritual freedom.  We can’t do good things to get it.  We can’t be good enough to earn it.  It is free to us.  All we have to do is believe it and receive it.  

But freedom isn’t free.

Someone had to pay.  Someone had to stand on the front lines of spiritual battle for us.  Someone had to pay the penalty for the sinful things we have done, and the sin nature that we are born with.  Freedom was available but not free.

There was a cost

Jesus, was perfect, and sinless.  He is the Son of God, and as a result the only one qualified to pay for the freedom we all need.
So He willingly went to that cross, but before doing so, he went to the garden to pray.  In that Garden, he talked to his father, and came to this conclusion, that the price for spiritual freedom was steep, expensive, and personally costly for Him, but  It was worth it!

So He went to that cross, gave his life in place of us, then was buried in a tomb, and three days later, on his own volition decided He would not be a slave to sin, death, hell or the grave, and he rose again to personal freedom and as a result gave all of mankind the opportunity for true, real, internal, spiritual freedom!

This is the inspiration for the words free at last, and the only real fulfillment of them.  Free at last, free at last, Thank God almighty I’m free at last.  While external and national freedom are great blessings, they aren’t real freedom.

Real freedom is to know Christ.  To be covered in His righteousness.  To know that the chains that used to bind you no longer have a hold on you.  To be free of sin, and to have hope in spite of death, and to know that your eternity will not be in the eternal jail called hell, but in the presence of your liberator, your king, your friend and father.  

You are free.  Free from the traps set to you bind you.  Free from the enemy that’s out to get you. Free from the wrong thinking that enslaved your mind.  Free from the petty survival mode of this life and free to live out the purpose and destiney that God has planted as a seed deep inside your spirit that flourishes and grows and rejoices, in Freedom!

What do we do with this real freedom?

We Know it, live it, and never retreat from it.

Galatians 5:13-15 MSG

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then? 

I thank God for a free nation, and for the people who have paid the price for it, and I thank God for spiritual freedom and for Jesus who paid the price for it.  The question is are you really free today?  Do you know him?

Prayer for our National Leaders (at national day of prayer in Canyon Texas)

Father God we come to you today in the precious name of your son Jesus. The only name given among men whereby we can be saved. In the name of the way, the truth and the life. The name that is above every name. At which name every knee will bow and every tounge will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. 

We as a community today gather humbly to ask for your blessing. We ask you to put your hand of favor on our land. 

We are so thankful to live in this great nation. We are grateful for the freedoms it affords us. We are grateful for the opportunities to prosper as a people and the freedom to unashamedly and unabashedly proclaim the good news of the Gospel in an uninhibited way. 

We are grateful for those who have, and, are and will pay the ultimate price for our physical national freedom, and even more grateful for the one who paid the ultimate price for our spiritual, eternal freedom from death, hell, and the grave. 

Father we place our President, Congress, and Judges before you now. We bring to you by way of prayer our national leaders. We pray for them in the spirit of honor and respect. As your word says in 1 Peter 2:13-17 MSG

Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God’s emissaries for keeping order. It is God’s will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you’re a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.  

Lord we honor those in authority in our nation and the greatest honor we could give them as believers is to sincerely pray for them. 

Today we pray for our leader, President Barack Obama. We pray first and foremost that His heart will be turned towards you. We pray that He will hear your voice, that he will know your truth. We pray that as he walks out the remainder of His term He will be led by your hand. We pray he will make decisions based on righteous principles and not on political positions. As your word says in Proverbs 29:4 

A leader of good judgment gives stability;…

We pray for His health, safety and protection and that of His family. We pray that you will surround him with voices of good judgement, encouragement, and strength. 

We ask you father that our legislative leaders will be informed by right and wrong as they make the laws of this land and represent the people of this land. Let our congress men and women love righteousness and abhor wrongdoing. As your word says in Proverbs 16:12 MSG

Good leaders abhor wrongdoing of all kinds; sound leadership has a moral foundation. 

Let them lead by principle and not by powermongering. Emmerse our leaders in humility and empower them by love for God, country, and the for the people of these great United States. Let their minds, hearts, ideas, and ideologies be given and surrendered to you and help them to remember the founding principles of our nation, and revere the position they Hold in history. 

Bless each and everyone of them, their families and most importantly their Spirit, soul, and Body. Give them the spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of you mighty God. Let their eyes be opened and minds be enlightend to your truth. 

Father we ask you to bless the judiciary of our nation. Impart justice into the hearts of our judges. Give us a sense of righteousness. Help them to make judgements and bring justice that would honor you. Give them the wisdom of Solomon and let their judgement be founded on the precepts and principles of eternity. Help them to walk in the light of your love. 

We pray for blessings to them and their families. 

Father today we submit all our national leaders to you, in honor of you and in honor of their leadership in this land. 

We pray for your hand to guide us, your heart to lead us and your mind to inspire us to become what you have intended. For all these things we give you praise Glory and honor. 

God bless our leaders and God bless the United States of America. 

And father as the word says in James 5:16-18 MSG

…The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again. 

So we pray for rain in the entire panhandle. Saturate the soil, prosper this land. We believe you to do it. Thank you Jesus. 

Amen

Everybody Needs love

Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
 

…Open up with God, this generous father in heaven.

Today is a celebration, a party if you will, to celebrate the fact that Jesus took our place in death on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, but beyond that he overpowered death, hell, and the grave and burst the tomb open, and on His own volition his own power he came back from the dead.  He lives!  He is alive!

This is not a theory, a fairy tale, or a mere story.  This is an historical fact the varacity and validity of which would hold up in court.  It has historical merit, legal merit, and is a reported fact, that he which was dead is alive for ever, and because He lives, we can also live.  

We can live, in victory over sin, death, hell and the grave, and we can win victory even over the circumstances in life.  

God loves us, and God wants us to win.  He has given us a plan to win, a way to win, because God is generous, He is a father and He is generous.  

Definition:  Generosity is the expression and very nature of love.  John 3:16-17 reveals the heart and charecter of God in his approach to human kind.  

For God so loved the world that He have His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved.

I’m Sorry that…

There is such confusion about the nature of God today.

Many religeous leaders and churches by their theologies and practices have mis-charecterized the nature and heart of God.

Im sorry that we live in a culture that is listening to deception that paints God as the bad guy, and paints humankind as the picture of perfection, that somehow on our own will evolve into deity ourselves.  

All of these things, we deal with in our society almost every day, however it doesn’t change the truth about God.  Just because someone doesn’t believe or believes wrong doesn’t change who God is, how He relates to us, or what He has done for us.

God is a generous father…

1.  History proves Him Generous and Kind

Adam and Eve…even in the fall God showed them mercy

Noah…Even in the degredation of mankind and the judgement of the total earth, God showed mercy

Abraham…He blessed abraham to be a blessing, when he asked for the sacrifice of His son, he was generous to Abraham, and to all humanity.

Joseph…Joseph’s life was thrown into negative circumstances by a hateful family, but God took what they ment for evil and made it good for Joseph and his

2.  The bible shows us how kind and generous God is

God is love…He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (I John 4:8 NKJV)

God gives hope…Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the Lord his God, (Psalms 146:5 NKJV)

God is faithful...God wasn’t attracted to you and didn’t choose you because you were big and important—the fact is, there was almost nothing to you. He did it out of sheer love, keeping the promise he made to your ancestors. God stepped in and mightily bought you back out of that world of slavery, freed you from the iron grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know this: God, your God, is God indeed, a God you can depend upon. He keeps his covenant of loyal love with those who love him and observe his commandments for a thousand generations. (Deuteronomy 7:7-9 MSG)

God is good and Kind...Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4 NKJV)

God is a benevolent father…Romans 8:15, we have not been given the spirit of bondage again to fear, but of adoption whereby we cry abba father.

God is a lover of humanity…John 3:16 For God so Loved the WORLD, the WHOSOEVER believes…

God is all powerful, and the ultimate judge and his mere restraint proves his love, compassion, and patience with us.

3.   The celebration of this day reveals the love and Kindness of God.

The fact that millions of people are in churches all over the world today celebrating Jesus and what He has done, reveals the incredible influence of the love of Christ around the world.

The fact that in our hearts we know we are loved, we know there is something more than mere existance.  We know that there is someone greater than us, we know deep within that our hope, security, and purpose are found in God.

God gave us a way to be in relationship with Him which proves His love, generosity and kindness towards us.

Everybody needs love…not the confused emotion based “love” humans espouse but the true deep uncoditional love that Jesus has for us.

Everybody needs hope…Not hope that is continually deferred through all the broken promises of this life, but that hope that is founded in Gods eternal existance, that hope that never disappoints because it is given by God, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Everybody needs peace…Not the mere calmness that comes with everything going your way, not the passivity of an overmedicated society, but the peace that comes from Gods love and expression of love in the plan of Salvation through Jesus Christ.  

Peace that comes from knowing you are forgiven and able to forgive.

 Peace that comes from that lack of shame and condemnation in life.

 Peace that comes in knowing that the battels we face when we have a relationship with Christ belong to God, and He will fight them for us, if we just trust him.  

The peace that comes when you know God your generous Father is protecting you, providing for you, preparing you, and positioning you for great things in life.

EVERYBODY NEEDS JESUS…

John 14:6 says I am the way, the truth the life, no man comes to the father accept through me

Only Believe 4 (message notes)

Mark 5:35-36 msg

While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” 

Big Thought:  Its amazing how practical faith really is.  Its practical for one simple reason.  Jesus is personal.  Its a powerful thought and reality that the Createor of all things, The only one true God so incredbily big in all of who He is, but somehow He is mindful of us.  He cares about us, loves us, is interested in us and is personally involved in our lives.  He set up the way for us to have a relationship with him.  So we no longer depend on a ritualistic religious way of serving God, but now we are chosen, adopted, and accepted into the family of God, and He wants to be personally involved in our every day lives.

Gods attitude towards us: We are not a burden on Him.  He is not put out with us.  He is not tired of us or resentful towards us.  He loves us, and wants the best for us.  He cares so much that he loves us just as we are, and He loves us to much to leave us like we are.

QUESTION:  What is going on in your life right now thats to big for God?  

THOUGHT:  Don’t make the mistake that because God is Spirit that all his solutions and answers for our lives are alone spiritual.  Yes Heaven is real, actually more real than our very existance.  However, to think that the things that are spiritual do not bridge to the practical, physical aspects of our lives is a terrible misconception.  When we set our faith in the invisible, the unseen, God of all things, then the results of that faith manifest in the physical.

God has the ability to change things.  
>He has the power to take us out of situations, 
>He has the ability to help us walk through circumstances, 
>He has the ability the change the circumstances, 
there is no doubt that our belief in God and his ability to effect change in our lives, does more than make us feel good spiritually or give us peace.  
It absolutely impacts the circumstances of our lives.

Deliverence through – 3 Hebrew boys

Deliverence from – Peter from Jail

>All things are possible with God, including all the practical issues our our lives.

Philippians 4:19 NKJV

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus

Isaiah 53:3-5 (Amp)

Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.

THOUGHT:  If we Apply the instruction that Jesus gave Jairus, to ONLY BELIEVE, then we set ourselves up for this all powerful, all knowing, all present, God, to act on our behalf.

Its called appropriation.  Our faith appropriates Gods power.  His power manifests in our life, when we set our faith on him.  

HOW? 

the answer to Gods spirit intervening in our physical is to Know Him more, understand Him more and Believe who He is and what He can do, and He will Deliver you out of your problems, or walk you through your problems, or Protect you from your problems, but whatever way He chooses to do it, His Super will touch your natural, and things will change.

The best way to have God personally involved in your life, is to have an ongoing, intimate close relationship with Him.  Know him and his salvation, and grow and develop in relationship with him. The greater the revelation you receive of Christ the stronger the faith and perserverence to believe,  and the greater the manifestation and appropriation will be at work in your life.

Dwell in Christ:  All the promises of God are yes and amen IN CHRIST.  HE IS THE SECRET PLACE.  Our journey towards God being active practically in our lives, starts with having a relationship with Jesus.  Do you know him?

II Corinthians 1:20 NKJV

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. 

Psalms 91:1-6 NKJV

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. 

QUESTION:  where are you living?

Only Believe 3

Mark 5:35-36 msg

While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” 

Intro:  Jesus instructions here imply that faith is the antidote for fear, cynicism and doubt. We treat faith as if it is the result of not having those things. The reality is, however, that faith is what chases those things out of our mind.

Jesus statement to Jairus seems to say think faith, then Jesus models for him how faith works.

1. First think faith (chase the negatives out)

2. Speak faith (the girl is sleeping)

3. Act in faith (little girl rise).

These 3 components are still at work in the function of faith today and are very practical and easily applicable to our lives and daily circumstances. 

Hebrews 11:7 MSG

By faith, Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land. He was warned about something he couldn’t see, and acted on what he was told. The result? His family was saved. His act of faith drew a sharp line between the evil of the unbelieving world and the rightness of the believing world. As a result, Noah became intimate with God. 

3 components to the effective, practical function of faith in our lives

1.  Think faith

This is where the battle is. The war of faith is waged and won or lost in the mind. 

Turn off the influencers and informers of doubt. 

Well meaning doubt dealers

Those married to mediocrity 

The status quo police

The defenders against danger

The incredible insecure. The ferociously fearful

Turn on the flood gates of faith

Put on the mind of Christ 

Renew your mind to the word of God

Know who you are and who’s you are

Meditate on Gods truth

Consciously chase negative, doubt filled, fearful thoughts out of your mind.
 
Romans 12:1-2
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 

Psalms 1
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. 

Joshua 1:8
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” 

Phil 4:8
For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. 

2.  Speak faith 

Faith is meant to be declared, stated, spoken. 

There is the component of your mind and heart but also your mouth. 

Speaking faith is a powerful tool, saying what you believe builds faith and has power. 

Genesis 1:3-5 MSG
God spoke: “Light!” And light appeared. God saw that light was good and separated light from dark. God named the light Day, he named the dark Night. It was evening, it was morning— Day One. 

Mark 11:23,24
For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. 

Proverbs 18:20, 21 MSG
Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach; good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest. Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose. 
      
 3.  Act in faith (obedience)

Single greatest activator of faith is obedience.
Act on what you believe, what you know to be true. 

Its excellent to think faith, wonderful to speak it, but obedient action takes faith to another level

James 1:23-25 NKJV
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. 

Only Believe 2

Mark 5:35, 36 NKJV

While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” 

Foundation: Jesus is inspiring us here not to fear, not to doubt, not to be distracted by anyone or anything but rather to keep our gaze singularly focused on Him, the only real solution to whatever is a problem in our lives.  By Saying ONLY BELIEVE He is saying, in the moment when you come to me desperate for my intervention on your behalf, in your life, your daily life, don’t let anything pull you off course.

Big IDEA:  Do we really want our Answer?

John 5:5-8 AMP

There was a certain man there who had suffered with a deep-seated and lingering disorder for thirty-eight years. When Jesus noticed him lying there [helpless], knowing that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, Do you want to become well? [Are you really in earnest about getting well?] The invalid answered, Sir, I have nobody when the water is moving to put me into the pool; but while I am trying to come [into it] myself, somebody else steps down ahead of me. Jesus said to him, Get up! Pick up your bed (sleeping pad) and walk! 

BIG Questions:

1.  What are we believing in?

Faith in faith– as long as you believe in something 

Faith in yourself – I believe I can fly

Faith in fortune – money money money

Faith in the false – man made religions, man made men, believing in the pretend more than the real. 

2.  Do we really want our Solution?

Has our problem, issue, situation, victimization, or even our sickness become who we are instead of what is happening to us?

Are their things that are gained by retaining this identity that we are not ready or willing to give up?  

Attention, our role in the group

Self centeredness – a need to keep the attention on self
Have we lost ourselves in our issue and wouldn’t know who we are without it?

Have we spent so much time being identified by or with this issue that we have lost our true identity and now fear that we would not be known at all.  We feel it would be better to be known for this than not known.

3.  Are we looking to others or to God to give us our Answers?

Do we realize that when we get offended at others its always because we have taken our focus off of our only real answer, GOD, and have placed our attention on Imperfect people?

Have we made it others peoples responsability to take care of our problems?

Are we looking for people to give us an emotional peace while we suffer instead of turning to God for true peace and deliverence from our suffering?

Have we put people in such a place in our lives that there is no way they could ever live up to, or be the solution that we are needing and wanting them to be?

4.  What underlying heart issue could be keeping us from our Answer.

Are there issues piling on issues because of resentment, and disappointment?

How do we see ourselves?  

As a victor that is facing a difficulty, or a victim who would be a victor of it wasn’t for our circumstances?

Do we blame God or are we looking to God as our solution? 

THE QUESTION:

The question that Jesus ask the lame man, was more than a mere question based on a momentary observation, but a question based on Jesus ability to know the heart.  

Through this one question he brought to light every wrong heart motive, every wrong belief, every need in this man.  Not just the need that was apperent but all the issues of his very life.  Not for the purpose of exposure or judgement but for the purpose of healing.  

The gate the man was laying at was called bathesda which means the house of grace, mercy and peace.

Sometimes our solution is less etherial and more practical, and it is always available to us, if we are willing to practcially apply the principles of faith to every area of our lives.

Rarely are the issues in our life a single, one off problem.  Most of the time there are layers and layers of compound issues over time, emotion, life history and experiences.  

BIG SOLUTIONS:

Practical application of faith.

1.  Put our total focus on Jesus.

Peter walking on the water

2.  Decide our issue wont become  our identity.

Seperate our identity from our issue, by remembering our purpose, and the will of God for our lives.  

Romans 8:28  All things work together for good to them who are the called of God and live according to His purpose.

3.  Be honest with ourselves and with God.

It is so easy to do this.  Our world is so prentetious that we find ourselves not truly being honest about our situation.  
To see God as our true solution, we have to admit we need one, and that being honest is always better than attempting to appear perfect.  
It is futile to be dishonest with God.

4.  Realize that we do have someone.

While we can not make people our source or solution, we must realize we do have Spiritual family around us that whether we realize it or not are helping us.

When we keep God in focus we see more clearly His family at work in our lives.  

If we make people our source they will always let us down.  That is our problem not there’s.

5.  Rejoice in the blessings of others.

Make sure to pray for others, and celebrate the victories of others.  This postures our hearts to receive our own needs met, and problems solved.
 
If we look in Jealousy at the victories of others our victories will be few, and far between.

6.  Keep it simple.  

Faith is simple, and singular.  What doesn’t work is double mindedness or spiritual ambiguity.

At the end of this inquery Jesus said Get up and take your bed, and the man did.

Sometimes we want our solutions to be as complicated as our problems.

They rarely are, the problem is we just can’t see them from the fog of the circumstance, and also because we are expecting some complicated formula when God doesn’t need all that fan fare.

THE BIG POINT:  God wants us to be free, totally free, not partially free, of the issues, problems and daily challenges we face.  All we have to do is truly want our freedom and ONLY BElIEVE in HIM!

Only Believe 1

Mark 5:22-24, 35, 36 NKJV

And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.” So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him… 

…While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” 

When it looks like your not going to make it when life’s storms are swelling over the top of you when obstacles to your God given dream stand in your way and seem immovable when you receive a bad report. When your family is falling apart when your income is smaller than your outgo when your loved ones, and friends don’t have a relationship with Jesus and desperately need one. When you are emotionally overwhelmed by the major cultural shifts in our nation
DO NOT FEAR – ONLY BELIEVE!

Practical applications of faith

1. Faith is most effectively used in humility.

Humility is an aknowlegement that Jesus is greater than we are in every way

Humility is an aknowlegement that we need help, we need God

2. Faith is an expectation that the desired outcome will happen.

Hebrews 11:1 faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. 

Hebrews 11:6 without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must belive that he is and that he rewards those who diligently seek Him. 

3. Faith seeks God out for help. 

Faith doesn’t wait for some miracle to find them. Faith without works (corresponding action) is dead. 

The ruler and the woman alike, believed in Jesus, but they sought him out,  they did not wait for him to somehow find them. 

4. Faith has to shut the haters out and let the believers in

Doubters, cynics, naysayers, haters, critics need to go.

Believers, prayers, people who care need to be embraced.  

5. Only believe.
 
This implies do nothing but stand in faith. 

No fear, no quitting, No giving up, No distraction 

Final is never final with God. Fatal isn’t final, failure isn’t final

Faith is a spirit thing not an emotion thing. 

>Our faith first engages when we decide to become followers of Christ, but then should be active in our every day lives. 

>What are you believing for God to do in your life?