Faith and Works

Building blocks in a hand

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 NIV

Today I spoke with a friend who was going through some storms, as we all are experiencing. As we were talking, I found some scriptures to encourage her spirit with hopes of transforming her thinking. We read the scriptures together and continued to talk about the love, comfort, and protection of Jesus Christ. I asked her if she was feeling better, emotionally, but she was still struggling even though we were professing God’s grace and mercy. As we said our good-byes, I started to reflect on our conversation and what it meant to believe in Jesus Christ.  

In my reflection time, God gave me this revelation. As Christians, we have to do more than belief. We have to trust and have faith in Jesus Christ when we go through tests, trials, and storms. Believing is the foundation of our Christian walk because, without it, there is no Lord and Savior in our life. “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” Romans 10:9-11 NIV However, we must move beyond believing toward trusting and having faith, illustrated through our actions.

Have you ever received encouragement from a friend but still felt somber not experiencing any joy or peace? Maybe you’ve been the encourager thinking that your godly support is not helping. It’s important to understand that on either end (encouragement or encourager), our belief in Jesus Christ is a daily walk. The proper mindset will transition you from believing toward trusting and having faith demonstrated with action.

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?…In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:14, 17 NIV

If you’re wondering what actions do you need to portray? I would say sit before the Father and allow Him to direct you. In the conversation with my friend, I would say let the scripture transform your thinking to a positive mindset. Allow God to fill your heart and mind with joy and peace; instead of focusing on the negative, see the positive, or do something different, so you receive different results. Your “actions” are whatever you decided to do to make your day better-believing, trusting, and having faith that God is in control, and all is well.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3 NIV

As Christians, we can say all day that we believe in Jesus Christ, but if our belief does not mature to a trusting, faith-based relationship in God, then what do we believe. Let your belief manifest to trust and faith in Him, which will develop into an action-based Christian walk.

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalms 62:8 NIV

Be blessed in the Mighty, Awesome name of Jesus Christ! Amen~

Prune or Cut Down

Today, after nineteen years of living in our home, we had our last sun-blocking tree cut down in the backyard. What was once an ordinary size tree had now become a gigantic, overgrown, problematic tree.

The tree had grown so tall and broad that the limbs were hanging over the roof, and what used to provide welcoming shade had become a homeowner’s nightmare.

According to the professionals, the tree caused a moist bearer on the roof’s back side due to the hanging limbs, which also damaged the gutters and wood in that same area. Ouch! Something else to repair!

But as I thought about the damage the tree caused, God redirected my thinking toward life circumstances and relationships. God revealed to me that relationships and even life, in general, are like our overgrown tree. We have small problems that we do not address, and over time (years), that problem gets bigger and bigger, such as our tree.

However, when the issue gets out of hand, we decide it’s time to do something. Instead of fixing the problem when it’s a molehill, we wait until it becomes a mountain.

Our tree had become a problem for us. It was too large, hanging on the roof, damaging the wood, gutters, and shingles. The tree had grown passed my husband’s desire to cut himself.

Instantly God said, “What about life, relationships, work?”

Relationship problems! Are you seeking professional help to end your marriage?

Work conflict! Are you looking for another job?

Health issues! Are you still avoiding the idea of exercising?

Have your problems become greater than you’d like to handle?   

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:8-9 NIV

But what about pruning our issue? I said to my husband, “Why don’t we prune the tree? It’s a beautiful tree that provides a lot of shade for the patio!”

So I ask, could you prune your issue instead of cutting it down? What do you prune I asked God? He said, “Your pride, ego, selfishness, inability to listen, compromise, or use self-control!”

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20 NIV

What about professional help to heal your marriage?

What about searching for personal accountability in your workplace conflict?

What about changing the way you eat and start exercising a couple of days a week?

Cutting down your issue may not always be the best option. But if we ask God for His help and guidance through the Holy Spirit, He will help us correctly prune our problems individually and collectively, so we look like the body of Christ!

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalms 32:8 NIV

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2 NIV

So, if at all possible, try to look at your problem with pruning eyes. What self-work can you do internally, demonstrating it externally!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

In the Awesome, Mighty name of Jesus Christ! ~ Amen