Mar 102010

How to Believe
John 4:43-54

When truth is given, it then becomes the responsibility of the one who receives it. That responsibility is gauged by your reaction to the truth. In other words, if you don’t like anything about the teaching of Christ and if you choose to reject it all, you will never be able to say, “Nobody told me.” So, if you don’t want to hear the truth, stop reading right here.

If you are a skeptic or have ever been one, then, chances are, you have had the experience of going to a Christian, asking about his or her faith, only to receive a “You just believe, that’s all” in response.
I don’t know about you, but I remember feeling frustrated by that. To tell a pagan simply to believe is silly!
Jesus had a lot of amazing things to say about belief. He said we could move mountains and that, with Him,nothing would be impossible. But the problem is—How to believe. What is the process of belief?

Belief is born in need (John 4:47). If you have no need to believe, then you will not believe. In the text, this father had a son who was dying. That is need. Perhaps it began when his little boy had a sore throat. He didn’t get over it; it only got worse. Th e boy’s fever rose, death drew near and out of fear, panic and need,his father went to Jesus. When your kid is sick, you will do anything. This was a man of power and influence, used to giving favors, not asking for them. He had a need and without that need, the man would never have believed.The difference between strong faith and weak faith is need. The paradox: the strongest Christian is the weakest Christian (2 Corinthians 12:9). God is in the business of putting His children in holes so deep that they can’t get out without His help.What is your need right now? Whatever it is, God is going to teach you how to believe.

Belief is nurtured in Christ (John 4:47). Whether or not belief grows depends on the object of your belief.When God digs your hole, make sure you reach out to the proper “helper-outer.”
The fact is, belief, unless vested in the proper object of belief, will die. Are you hurting? Go to God. That is how you nurture belief.In John 14:12, Jesus teaches that, “He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” Jesus does not say that “He who believes in the power of positive thinking (in the power of the church, in the power of himself, in the strength of theology) . . .” Belief will not grow unless the object of that belief is proper—Jesus Christ Himself.

Belief grows in faith (John 4:50). Jesus said to the father, “Go your way; your son lives.” If it were me, I would have said to Jesus, “Would you do me a favor and go down to Capernaum with me? If I get there and my son isn’t well, then I will have to come all the way back to Cana and my son might die in the meantime.” That isn’t what happened. The man accepted what Jesus said as reality . . . even when he didn’t know the reality for himself at that moment.You say you believe? How much are you willing to bet on that belief? Your money, your life, your relationships, your family? Without risk, there can be no belief.

In John 5, When Jesus told the man who had been sick for a lot of years, “Take up your bed and walk,” the man could have said, “Are you out of your mind? I can’t walk!” If the man had said that, he would have remained a cripple.Acts 3 describes the time Peter and John went to the temple and saw a lame beggar. Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold, but what I’ve got, I’ll give you. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, get up and walk.” What if the beggar had said, “No, that’s impossible! I can’t walk.” If he had said that, he would have stayed at the temple gate,begging until the day he died.

When I was just out far enough on the limb to hesitantly believe, I was afraid to talk to people about it.
Someone might challenge my faith and I was afraid to risk. One of the great discoveries of my life was that faith in Christ is true. It holds water.Within the context of your faith, God is asking you to risk. Maybe it is money, maybe it is a relationship,maybe it is in witnessing, maybe it is in a moral error. Belief grows in proportion to faith. And another word for faith is risk.

Belief is matured in fact (John 4:51). The mature believer is the one who has seen God act in direct and specific ways and whose faith cannot ever be shaken because it is built on fact. How do you get there? You have to have a need; you have to risk; you have to invest in a proper object and then, God acts in ways that will simply leave you speechless.I don’t want you to miss one of the most exciting things about this text: “ . . .And he himself believed, and his whole household” (John 4:53). Not only was the son healed, but the father, the mother, the siblings and the servants were also healed.Paul got it right: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think,according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20). A mature Christian is not the Christian who says, “Lord,zap me with faith and belief, so that I can move mountains.” The mature Christian is the one who has gone through the process of need, Christ-centered help, faith and risk . . . and has seen God literally stagger that Christian with His faithfulness.
Maturity never comes in shallow water. I will never forget the day, when I was a little boy, my father let me go in water over my head. I then had the absolutely thrilling experience or realization that I was in deep water and I was swimming! I laughed in excitement and my father laughed, too. In the area of faith, the Heavenly Father laughs for the same reason.

Steve Brown

  No Responses to “Prayer & Praise: March 7-13”

  1. I could use some prayer…

    I walked out on my church’s Redemption group tonight.

    It suddenly seemed all wrong for me…not wrong or bad in itself, but wrong for me…the facilitator, the atmosphere, opening up to strangers…I freaked out and left.

    I suck at the Christian life. I’ll fess up to it.

  2. praying Brian

  3. BrianD,

    I just prayed for you. You may have done the right thing –
    sometimes those kind of groups can be “just wrong.” I
    wouldn’t sweat it too much.

  4. Hi BrianD. Thank you for all your skills/time here..I was pretty sad/mad tonight when I saw the .com site down. Praying tonight for you. As Glen said above, “sometimes those kinds of groups can be just wrong.” I love that!! (thanks Glen) If I had a nickel for all the “wrong groups” I’ve been to..

    Praying for this family this evening…praising God out loud here…I worked two days in a row!! This is big.. for me that is. Things have changed so much with the job world.

  5. BrianD, praying.

  6. I spoke with one of the leaders through email this morning. He’s encouraging me to give it another shot.

  7. and, in the end….as this is my church…and as these guys are not coming off as self-righteous, “follow me or else I’ll drop mars hill discipline on you” jerks…but rather as grace-filled, Christ-like brothers…I need to honor their guidance and authority.

  8. Hey, Nene, that’s really good news. You’ve been in my prayers–hang in there.

  9. God keep all close and comforted this nite

  10. Nene’s dad – will have to move and he does not do well having neighbors

    Nene – healing for her fractured foot

    Sarah – her health, the health of her mother and father, ministering to someone in a struggling marriage,

    Erunner – brother-in-law Jeff in a coma,

    Linnea – Son(20)needs healing, encouragement, wisdom, discernment, faith, hope…pray also for Linnea and her husband as this is also difficult on them.

    Bigfala Mike – for his ever growing family…bringing in many children into their home.

    Nancy – healing for her brother-in-law Keith

    Tom S. – Son has a skull fracture from a biking accident

    Michael – health

    Please Note – healing for major surgery

    DMW – health

    Sister Christian – ministry in France

    Michael Spencer (iMonk) – diagnosed with cancer

    Captain Kevin – health

    Brian D – guidance regarding church

  11. Lord God, I ask for Captain Kevin that You would intervene. Remove whatever it is that is causing him such miserable health trouble and pushing him into depression. Lift his spirits, touch his body, bring total and complete healing.

  12. For Please Note I ask that You continue the healing process from his surgery. He had such difficulty with the last surgery- I ask that this time You please bring perfect healing. Multiply his energy levels as he is always doing for others at the cost of his health. Protect him from infection.

  13. Father for iMonk, be with Him…teach him, counsel him during this time to be an even mightier warrior. I ask for total healing from the cancer because I know You are fully capable of doing so….

  14. I ask for healing from cancer also for Karen. She and Jeff have shown the will not be swayed from their faith…be merciful Father and deliver her.

  15. Father You are our healer, the One who heals us….be our Healer now…in this time that so many are ill…You are our Comforter….comfort us now when we so desperately need You. We run to You, Who is our Rock of Refuge, Who urges us to run to You.

  16. Thank you kindly JerryF, I only sub, but was (gratefully) working non stop for a long time. Last June the layoffs hit, the trickle down effect occurred. Tomorrow brings a new day! 🙂

    Today was the day my dad was find out about his living situation. Nothing happened, so I will continue to trust in God’s plan. Even my dad was surprised, the word he used was bewildered…

    Lord I ask you to be right now with Linnea’s son. May you provide as many resources as possible to help him. Please Lord, bring healing to his heart, soul, his physical body, his mind…be with Linnea and her husband as they go about their days at work, and home. Lord provide down time for them so they may be refreshed in you, and get rest.

    Father God, be with bigfella Mike’s family tonight. May your spirit penetrate the hearts and minds of all those in his home. Lord I pray that this growing family will be blessed in your love.

    Lord, please help Michael deal with the issues here, provide encouraging people to surround him. May the stress from this site be made so very small. Father You are big, and man is small. Heal his body Lord, and please provide for him. Bless this place Lord, and energize it, as it continues to help the broken.

    There are so many needs here Lord, how we need you…how we love you, Father God you are our king, our Lord.

  17. I have a small prayer request. I’ve kind of avoided saying anything because so many people are going through really tough stuff and have some really hard prayers. But I’m not going through tough stuff. Basically, I’m getting married in June and my fiance and I just bought a house–we’re closing on the 31st. Last year, before I had any idea any of that was going to happen, I signed a year long lease for my apartment, and now I really need to find someone to take it, hopefully this month but at least by the end of next month. Because things are going to get tight if we have to keep paying for this place while also paying for our house.

  18. Jessica, how much is the monthly rent?

  19. It’s $340 a month. Heat is not included.

  20. thanks Jessica..just wondering is all, will pray..

  21. Jessica, we’re here and we are suppposed to care for the family in prayer or action if we can. Great news about your wedding! But, it always seems there are little chinks in the smoothness if the fabric sometimes. Didja talk to the owners about a release? Just thinking out loud. Will pray for a resolution.

    Nene, my son is a sub for the school dist. here. He worked for a few weeks then nothing because the policy is that 2 people have to out for 1 sub to fill in. Nuts, huh? So, we have a hard time filling spots because the subs leave to find other work. Frustrating. Keep that foot wrapped and don’t walk on it too much if you can. Praying for you now.

    Captian Kevin, did you get our mention of thyroid testing? It could be the problem…just a suggestion.

    Thanks MOM Psalm62 for your covering wings of prayer. I apperciate it so much as I’m sure we all do. Glory to GOD!

  22. Yes, I talked to them. I get released when someone else rents it. I must admit, I’m a little ticked off, because when I first rented this place 3+ years ago, although I didn’t ask about it, they volunteered the information that they realize things come up and life changes happen and they are “understanding” about that. I guess in their minds being understanding simply means that they’ll try to rent it again or you can try to get someone to take it, but if they can’t or you can’t then you’re still liable for the rent. I would not call that understanding myself.

    My apartment seems like a good deal, so I should be able to find *somebody* over the course of a month and a half–I already had one guy come and look at it yesterday. If I just post a Craigslist ad every 48 hours someone should eventually take it. But, I would really like to just have this out of the way. 😐

  23. Jessica, thrilled with the news of God’s blessing you with your lover and partner! Lucky fella.
    if rents are up in your area can’t you reason with the landlord, along the lines of: if i sublease this unit you’ll not be able to raise the rent… on the other hand, if you release me from my lease, then you can ask a higher rent of the next tenant? praying with you

    reading Dusty’s list and praying

  24. because i know folks here lift such things to the Lord …
    i decided to try one more time to install my printer from my (no cd drive) netbook via the HP web-site. installation successful and i’m ready to tackle my taxes today – no excuses left!
    thank you pray-ers and thank You, Lord – it’s peaceful here at my house again 🙂

  25. Reading through Dusty’s prayer list and written prayers and joining her in a hearty Amen!
    Praying for The situation with Jessicas apartment.
    Praying for those in need of employment
    Praying for those in need of healing,
    Gods guidance, direction and wisdom
    Praying for gods provision to all who are in need.

    Heavenly Father
    as you are so exceedingly gracious and good to your children
    as you hear our pleas, meet each one who reads here, who prays here in this place
    fill them with peace, assurance of your guidance, and confidence of Your care
    Father we love and adore you and rejoice in your care for each of us.

  26. ***Jessica, thrilled with the news of God’s blessing you with your lover and partner! Lucky fella.
    if rents are up in your area can’t you reason with the landlord, along the lines of: if i sublease this unit you’ll not be able to raise the rent… on the other hand, if you release me from my lease, then you can ask a higher rent of the next tenant? praying with you***

    I’m not subleasing it. I’m trying to find someone who wants this apartment and then they would lease it directly from the landlord. When they sign their lease agreement my lease agreement is cancelled.

  27. A few months ago, I spoke with a recruiter guy who was very favorable about my resume and skill set…said he thought for sure he could place me. Then…I heard nothing back. This is a guy I know of and respect…so it was weird.

    Today, I woke up to a voice mail and email from his company for a position working with an old client. It’s the perfect role really…

    Good money, minimal travel, working on a project that is just starting (not the mess I went into last time), full benefits etc…

    Best part is it’s mostly working at home, so I would be able to continue to build the non-profit/ministry organization we’ve started over the last year or so here.

    I’d actually be able to contribute to projects at church and with our group…

    This “feels” right…
    but I’m a bit afraid to get my hopes up cause I’ve had about 4 “near misses” in the last few months where it looked like things were going to work out and then didn’t at the last second.

    I’d feel comfortable working with this group as it’s folks and a company I already know.

    Please pray this will work out!


  28. Just returned from the ER where our daughter is. She’s dehydrated and has a bit of an infection. Tests indicate the baby is fine. Please pray that Erin can carry her baby to term with a non eventful delivery. Thank you.

  29. Lord, for London, let it work out. Bring peace of heart.

  30. Thy will be done…
    almost forgot that.

  31. praying with all – Lord, You love London, Jessica, Erin and those that love them, too – praying for their ways to be sheltered and blessed by You now…

  32. Erunner, Your daughter and baby are being prayed for right now….London, prayer for you and this job situation as well.

    JerryF. Wow, that type of sub policy is the pits. If it happened here, I would consider being a regular teacher again. If that happened, you would see me on this prayer list full time. 😉
    My foot is elevated as I type.. 🙂 Sorry, I know this is a prayer thread…

  33. London, praying

  34. Praying for you tonight nene.

  35. SisterD, praying also for you.

  36. Our daughter is doing well. They did a test to see if the baby might be arriving super early and from what I gather that shouldn’t happen. She is on anti biotics for a UTI and ate with us last night. Thank you for praying.

  37. Things are looking up re: my apartment situation. There are two people who are interested in it. I don’t want to get my hopes up too high, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that one of them will work out.

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