Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Faith Needs Action

God always has a way of working on me in a multitude of ways.  When God is working on a particular area with me I seem to hear about it everywhere from all different sources.  I do not think it is because I am so special, but rather because I am a very slow learner!  My latest lesson is faith.  I have heard about it in a sermon by Dr. Ross at church, in teachings on the radio and TV, in Dr. Stanleys CD's I talked about the other day, in my own Scripture reading and Bible study, in a text from a friend...I think you get the idea.

In the past few weeks, God has pounded me with the fact that action must accompany faith.  Of course, Mom and Dad exemplified this throughout their lives.  When God called them to a new ministry, they stepped out in faith.  God used them in mighty ways because they consistently acted upon their faith.

One other place I received this lesson was in a book I read recently entitled "Sun Stand Still" by Steven Furtick, which I highly recommend.  Steven talked about how faith has to have action or it is not really faith at all.  When we pray and ask God for something but then we do not step out in faith, our prayers lack power.  The author has based his book (and hence the title) on Joshua 10:7-13.  I am quoting below from The Message version:

So Joshua set out from Gilgal, his whole army with him—all those tough soldiers! God told him, “Don’t give them a second thought. I’ve put them under your thumb—not one of them will stand up to you.”
Joshua marched all night from Gilgal and took them by total surprise. God threw them into total confusion before Israel, a major victory at Gibeon. Israel chased them along the ridge to Beth Horon and fought them all the way down to Azekah and Makkedah. As they ran from the People of Israel, down from the Beth Horon ridge and all the way to Azekah, God pitched huge stones on them out of the sky and many died. More died from the hailstones than the People of Israel killed with the sword.
The day God gave the Amorites up to Israel, Joshua spoke to God, with all Israel listening:

“Stop, Sun, over Gibeon;
Halt, Moon, over Aijalon Valley.”
And Sun stopped,
Moon stood stock still
Until he defeated his enemies.

In this text, Joshua was leading Israel into battle.  God had promised them he would be with them.  In the heat of the battle, Israel's enemies were dropping like flies but as the battle wore on, Joshua realized they were running out of daylight.  He boldly asked God to make the sun stand still - stop time - and guess what?  God did it!  The sun stopped until they finished off their enemies.

I have read this historical account several times.  I have heard several sermons on the topic but Furtick pointed out something I had never thought about before.  In verse 8 God gave Joshua a promise that they will be victorious in this fight.  In verse 10 Joshua asks God to make the sun stand still.  But what happens in verse 9?  Joshua took his men and marched all night!

He did not sit back on his laurels and wait for God to fulfill His promise.  He gathered his men and marched all night long and then began fighting.  He did his part and, wow, did God ever show up in a huge way!

Have you, like me, wondered why your prayers do not seem to have any power?  Do you feel your faith is faltering because of seemingly unanswered prayers?  I do not know about you but I need to start marching!

James 2:14-18 (The Message)

Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the
right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith
indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old
friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend!
Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off
without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous

I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.”

Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.

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