What’s Your Priority Focused On?

Two days ago my youngest son and I were driving in my vehicle and the radio was on. We had been chatting aboutOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA things (sports, the weekend, etc.) There was a break in our conversation and suddenly over the airwaves was a voice on the radio that asked: “Are you putting God First or as a last resort?”

After the announcer finished the sentence, my son spoke up and said: “That’s a good question!”

So I asked him “ How about you? Do you put God first, or do you go to him as a last resort?”

He pondered this question and then answered, “ As a last resort. I like to try things on my own first.”

Then he asked me: “How about you Mom?”

My reply: “I do my best to keep God First, and not just for the big things. But the little, everyday, mundane things too. It’s about honoring the commitment I made to God years ago- to live and work for Him in all I do.”

I then went on to share that when I pray, I even pray for things like our laundry. He was really surprised to hear that. (My son, who is 13, has heard this before from me, but it was obvious he didn’t really get the significance of that as he was growing up.) I went on to explain that yes, I pray for God to bless our laundry, to keep the clothing from wearing out prematurely. (I have things I’ve worn for 20 years now that are classic, timeless styles and still are in great shape)

There are some days when I am praying 5 or 8 hours a day through out the day-and yes, sometimes my prayers are only 5-8 minutes day.

Putting God first is not just about prayer though. That is a part of it. The other part is about our actions, attitudes & beliefs. It involves how we steward things (the physicals, emotionally, spiritually, relationship wise, etc.)

There’s a flow to how spiritual alignment is supposed to be for us to have a full, abundant, blessed and protected life. This is very counterintuitive of how we as Westerners live. However, when you reprioritize your life to live in the following way, the blessings of God are clearly seen, felt, experienced- both big and small.

We should strive to live with stewardship in this manner:

1. God First
2. Self
3. Family
4. Business
5. Friends/Community/Country

Prayer isn’t just about asking for things either. A great spiritual relationship is based on a healthy conversation- one filled with acknowledgement, gratitude, thankfulness, and yes, communication for God to intercede for the lives and wellbeing of others.

Learning how to pray, what to pray for (not all things we pray for are available for God to fufill)- and then knowing what to do with the answers once prayers have been answered- are all keys to living a life with God first, so that He can help us prosper above all things, even as our soul prospers.

Where are you at today in your spiritual life? Just like all things; to be in spiritual health requires balance. Our God centered walk is the catalyst behind all other things. It’s the wind in our sails, the ‘gas’ that gives us the ‘go.

If you yearn to learn more, here are a couple other articles and teachings to help you understand why to put God First, How to do it –and the benefit to you when you do.

https://debbrasweet.wordpress.com/2010/02/17/why-god-first/

http://www.gods-word-first.org/video-bible-lessons/gauge-to-godliness-video.html

May you have a blessed and magnificent day!

Debbra Sweet

Faith, Hope and Believing

I have a personal pet peeve when it comes to hearing the Word of God misstated and misinterpreted. As a believer of God, we are to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth” as we are instructed in 2 Timothy 2:15.

One area where I hear much misunderstanding, misinterpretation and lack of clarity about God’s word is when people use the words: Faith, Hope and Believing.

Anytime we speak God’s word it is of the utmost importance that we are not dis-empowering what God has given us!

The lack of clear understanding of the words faith, hope and believing in an individual’s life leads to many opportunities for the adversary to come in and do harm and havoc to ones life.

When times get tough and challenging, five senses men often speak the words “You’ve got to have faith”. I’ve heard many, many Christians use this phrase too. Generally, when it is spoken, it is being used as a blanket of consolation – a type of ‘half hearted spiritual comfort’ in words – to encourage or remind the listener to ‘hang on, be strong, and things will/may work out’. The personal problem that I have when I hear that statement is this: God, in his Word- never tells us to have faith!

The English word ‘faithfulness’ is translated out of the old testament only twice. Once, it is used for the Hebrew word “Emun” in Deut. 32:20. Emun refers to steadiness. The other use of the English word ‘faithfulness’ is in Habbakuk 2:4. It is the word: emunah and it is better translated: stability.

The Word Faith, according to God, is the Greek work Pistis. Faith – pistis, is never used in the Old Testament. It is only used in the New Testament. Pistis means: Conviction of the truth of anything, belief.

There is relevance here to our understanding of the power in the word Faith, and how by not rightly dividing the Word, we can quickly and easily negate the power God has given us.

In the Gospels we see the life of Jesus set forth before us for our learning; his actions, his thoughts, his wisdom and his walk as the only begotten son of God. When we look closely at his life, we see that everything he did, he went to God first. Through direct communication with God, he received instruction, direction, God’s wisdom and divine understanding. Each step he took, every situation in which he made the choice to uphold the scriptures and fulfill them, he proved God and God’s word. He had to believe in God, believe whole heartedly what the scriptures said about him and he could not have one ounce of doubt about it.

When it came time for him to lay down his life, we see the ultimate example of the believing of Jesus. Before the final hours, during his prayer at Gethsemane (see Matthew 26:36) he prayed fervently to God, asking if there was any other way to fulfill God’s word. Jesus knew the pain and suffering he was about to go through. We see his human emotion in its fullness when the gospels tell us he prayed so hard about this that he sweated blood! The only way for him to fulfill the scriptures and become the Christ was to continue on in his believing in what he knew. He knew his reason, his purpose and he knew that God, under every circumstance and situation was right there with him. He knew he would not be forsaken and he knew his life was not in vain.

He also knew that by fulfilling the scriptures and allowing him self to die for our sins, it would mean the betterment of us all. In this one instance we see the faith (conviction in believing) of Jesus magnified. As you research and understand the sheer brutality and horrific conditions under which he allowed him self to be crucified- all the while he held onto the knowing of the coming of fulfillment of scriptures- you begin to see the power and steadfastness of his belief in The Word of God. He retained his trust in God and the understanding that God’s word, God’s will was coming to pass. Jesus’ walk, his life- his believing –this, is the declaration of what it means to have the faith of Christ!!

The day you became born again by proclaiming Romans 10:9 & 10 you received the gift of Holy Spirit. In that one moment, you operated believing (translated faith) and you received the permanence of this gift. With that gift came a power and a privilege that most people misunderstand. There are 9 manifestations of the Spirit and each person who has ever proclaimed that Jesus is the only son of God, he died for us and rose again from the dead and is now Lord, seated at the right hand of God, has all 9 and has the ability to fully operate them as they will!

One of those manifestations is “Faith”. Through believing we receive the Holy Spirit.

Once we receive Holy Spirit, we have received all the ‘faith’ we will ever need… we receive the Faith of Christ! We, each and every one of us who are born again, have the ability, in complete fullness to have steadfast, unwavering trust and confidence in the Power of believing God and his Word- at the level Christ did! That knowledge is wherein our understanding and conviction needs to be!

When you come to acknowledge and take operational ownership of the power in the gift you already have you begin to understand why God never tell us to ‘have faith’. We already have all the faith- ‘pistis’ we need! It’s the faith of Christ. Ephesians 2:8 verifies this: “For by grace are ye saved through faith (our believing that Christ is Lord- it is the faith of Christ that is in gift of God’s Holy Spirit that every man receives when claiming Romans 10:9 & 10); and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of (from) God.”

The English word hope has been translated from 17 different Hebrew and Aramaic words in the bible. Without study, it is very easy to have erred in our understanding.

Often we hear people casually use the word ‘hope’ in day to day language. It is used without much conviction in thought and is often referring to a passive idea. Many people walk around today without intention and the ability to truly have a crystal clear vision of an outcome they desire. Instead they speak of ‘hoping’ for something to happen. Five senses man’s use of this word usually brings with it little to no results.

Biblically, the word hope, when we look at the variety of words it actually represents, it can be seen that the main uses are related to: confidence, refuge, expectation, to cause to lean or trust. (These are not all the definitions – I encourage you to study this area on your own). What we do see though is biblically, the word Hope does not denote passivity. It still has active believing and thought behind the meanings of the words.

Believing is the active engagement of the power of our mind. It is an active engagement in the Believing of Christ! It is an active engagement of confidence, trust, remaining steadfast and to be fully persuaded in our convictions of the truth of God’s word and His Will. When you do a word study on the English translation of ‘believe or believing’, again you will see that there are five key words used – one of which is variations of the main word pistis.

Believing is the catalyst behind the magnificence of God’s Word. Faith is the inherent power that we all have. To step forward with action and ownership of the gift we have received takes an unfaltering conviction in our believing in God and the truth of His Word.

The next time you hear someone tell you to ‘just have faith’… remember- you already have all the faith you will ever need. You have the Faith of Christ! It’s simply time to step forth and take action in your believing and increase the depth of your conviction on God’s word to see miracles and amazing things comes to pass in your life.

Your sister in Christ,
Debbra Sweet