Set Your Faith Thermostat ~ higher

 

 

Raise up your faith level…

This winter more than half the USA is in a deep freeze. Temperatures in many of the fifty states are in double digests below zero. This brought to mind an illustration about faith I’d heard Pastor George Pearsons of Eagle Mountain International Church give. He said that you have to set your faith thermometer higher. I think that is so good, especially if you were not born into a Christian home where they talked about faith on a daily basis. I was not born into a Christian home and, as an adult, had to first start learning about the wonderful gift from God of faith.

So, what exactly is faith. Well in Hebrews 11: 1-3 the Bible tells us exactly what faith is. In my opinion, the Bible is written to everyone, but it’s for Christians, and the part that is the Old Testament is also for Jews. It’s to everyone in a historical literature sense, you might say. You could read the Bible to find out how some ancient religious peoples lived and interacted with their God. And then you might wonder how this book, this Bible has impacted the world over the course of centuries. However, to Bible believing Christians, it’s so much more that that. It’s teachings are the way we live out our lives on a practical daily basis. It’s the ‘Owner’s Manual’. If you own a car and you want to know something about how the thing is supposed to operate, you turn to the manufacturer’s ‘Owner’s Manual’. If you’re smart, you do.

So, we want to know what faith is, and we turn to the ‘Owner’s Manual’ in Hebrews 11:1 to see what the Manufacturer has to say about it. This is our foundational Scripture for this study.

Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen. ~ Hebrews 11:1, New American Standard Bible [NASB]

There is so much in this one Scripture. First off, it tells us that ‘faith is’. Faith isn’t in the past or in the future. It’s now in the present. And it’s the present ‘certainty of things hoped for’. So, faith is the present certainty. So, as we believers raise our faith level, we become more and more certain of what we hope for. As we raise our faith thermostat, we become certain in the present that what we have hoped and prayed for is ours, as long as it’s within God’s will. We find out what God’s will in by studying the Bible.

And the Bible tells us we can hope for things because faith is ‘a proof of things not seen’. I like the NASB because it strives to be as close to the original ancient Greek language as possible. Some Bibles are translated to be easy to read. Some Bibles strive to use more modern vernacular. Some Bibles are not translations at all but are paraphrasing. I like the NASB because it is a translation following as closely as English can to the original Greek. It says, ‘a proof of things not seen’. So, for believers there could be other proofs besides your faith. You might have a godly dream or some other sign that your children have come to know God and are saved, or that you are healed, or that you have a new and better working vehicle, or a good home for your family to live in, or that your church has grown in numbers and in the faith. These may not be realities in the natural, but you see them as being, as existing in the spiritual realm.  These are all things. They are good things and they fall under the faith umbrella. All of the ‘things’ mentioned above are all things that according to Scripture God would not be against you having. These other ‘proofs’ might include another Christian having a strong inner witness to pray for your children to be saved, or your bills to be paid, not knowing that is what you’ve asked God for. This would be spiritual confirmation (proof) to bolster your faith and would help to keep your faith strong. Sometimes faith brings about the desired result quickly, sometimes it takes years. As we mature as Christians, we build the muscles of our faith when we have to stand in faith for a long time.

Getting back to the illustration of the thermometer. What we do is set our faith above what we naturally can achieve, or above what would be easy for us to achieve. If we can, at the snap of our fingers, achieve it, we don’t need faith. Is there a dream in our hearts that we feel is from God? Something we come back to in our imagination…in our deep desire? Pray. Seek the Lord, and if it’s from God, why not go for it. Raise the faith thermometer a bit. What is the first step?

Another Christian teacher I admire is Joyce Meyer. She says, “Put your big toe in the water.” Find out what you have to do to prepare, find out what skills you need and begin the process. Don’t jump into the pool over your head, but do put your foot in the water. And keep that faith thermometer raised above what you of yourself can easily achieve and/or obtain. If believers keep exercising their faith for what God has for them, then they will  have an exciting and fulfilling life. For certain, it won’t be dull.

 

 

People Pleaser No More

Cool

 

I could’ve titled this, “I Can’t Please Everyone, But I Sure Have Tried.” This probably started in my family of origin where I strove to get good grades thus pleasing my parents, to have lots of friends, to be well liked by the teachers, and on top of that I wanted to be cool.

I wish I could say when I got into adulthood I was untouched by the expectations of others. Hardly. Those ‘great expectations’ were often heavy on me. I wasn’t performing well enough on my job (though I seemed to be doing as well as other employees). My house didn’t pass ‘the white glove test.” Remember that, when your mother-in-law, or your snarky older sister, or that holier than thou church lady comes, rubs her white glove across your coffee table and horror-of-horrors, absolute panic-time, she finds dust. Of course, since then I’ve learned a little known truth: dust is a wood preservative.

I can say that at one point in my life, right before I started my serious fiction writing journey, I twisted myself inside-out to make everything perfect for others in my personal world, to create a happy picture. Some had absolutely no appreciation of my efforts, while a few others actually disdained my efforts and actively tried to wreck them. So, I tried harder and the upshot was I lost myself in the process, for a while. For a while I was in a place of desperation. That was nearly eight years ago, when I banged out a really terrible first effort at a murder mystery novel. Writing fiction helped bring me back to me…back to the woman God sees when He looks at me.

Now that I’m a tad older than 39, I’ve learned categorically, no matter what I do, somebody’s going to have an opinion about my actions. I can prove this by taking a cursory look at social networking sites. Don’t you just love when somebody takes a stand, perhaps a faith stand, and they get castigated?Maybe they’re out of step with the mainstream. Maybe they hold traditional core values and they dare to express that… and they get figuratively stomped on. Other, do nothing types, sitting in their pajamas in their parents’ basements barrage them with insult upon insult. Some do not merely want to win the present argument, they seek to destroy the other person.

When this happens to me, and it has happened to me, I refer to, hold onto, put my feet down firmly, and stand on Scripture. Romans 8:1 [NASB] Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (2)For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

Eagel 2