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Pearl 152: He is Faithful!

TOPIC: Faith and Consistency

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess,
for he who promised is faithful" - Hebrews 10:24.

The definition of swerve is 'to turn aside or be turned aside from a straight course.' When you walk in faith, you must stay straight and true to the path that faith dictates for you. Otherwise you cannot reach your final faith destination. Yet when all is said and done, it is not your faith that wins the day, but the faithfulness of the One in whom you have faith and that is the Lord Jesus. Are you on course where faith is concerned, or are you swerving all over the place in doubt and fear? Do you profess a consistent faith, or do your words indicate unfaith and unhope? Is your faith in faith or in the Lord's faithfulness?

Lord, I thank You for this study of faith over the past month. I confess that I often swerve in my faith walk, usually in response to the circumcstances that call forth fear and doubt. I need Your help to walk a straight path where faith and hope are concerned, but I freely confess without a doubt today that You are faithful!

Pearl 151: Pharaoh's Children

TOPIC: Faith and Identity

"By faith Moses, when he had grown up,
refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter" - Hebrews 11:24.

When you walk in faith, you are walking in your true identity as the child of God and not a son or daughter of the world. Egypt was the most powerful nation on earth and Pharaoh the most powerful family, but Moses shunned their ways and chose God's ways. You are wise to do the same, for as we learned at the beginning of this month, with faith it is possible to please God. Where are you still acting like one of Pharaoh's children? Where do you need to renounce Pharaoh's ways and embrace God's way, which is faith? What other insights have you had this month in your study of faith, and what changes will you make because of them?

Lord, the world system is so glitzy, powerful and alluring, yet I choose to walk in your 'system,' which is no system but rather a walk of faith in relationship with You. I choose to learn how to walk in faith as one of Your children and I refuse to be identified as a child of Pharaoh's system.

Pearl 150: Draw Near

TOPIC: Faith and Prayer

"Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart

and with the full assurance that faith brings,

having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty

conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water." - Hebrews 10:22.

The key result in this verse is that faith causes you to draw near to God and that may be its most important result, rather than the provision or answer you are seeking. When you draw near, you talk to Him and learn more about Him - and yourself. Are you drawing near to God, getting to know Him better and better? Is your faith journey revealing areas of doubt and fear and are you sincerely confessing those limitations so God can free you from them? Do you know how to seek Him until you have the full assurance He has received and heard you?

Lord, i don't want to pray simply reciting a list of my wishes and needs. I want to draw near to You and be changed in the process, as I sincerely open my heart to You. Cleanse me and change me, I pray, as I seek my purpose and to be faithful to the good works You have created for me to do.

Pearl 149: Backsliding

TOPIC: Faith and Progress

"But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed,
but to those who have faith and are saved" - Hebrews 10:39.

When you shrink back in unbelief, it is a form of backsliding, for you are no longer moving forward in the Lord and the work He assigned you to do. You may not be breaking any commandments, but you are rendered ineffective where purpose and goals are concerned. Are you shrinking back in any area of your walk with the Lord? Have you covered your unbelief with reasonable excuses? In what area that is important to you are you not making progress, thus effectively backsliding and losing any chance to impact other's lives?

Lord, I always saw backsliding as doing bad things I know I should not do. Yet today I see I can backslide by not progressing in any faith area in which You have called me to work. Not writing when you want me to write is a form of backsliding because I am not writing in faith. Forgive me and help me move forward again.

Pearl 148: Shrink Back

TOPIC: Faith and Lifestyle

“But my righteous one will live by faith.
    And I take no pleasure
    in the one who shrinks back" - Hebrews 10:38.

This verse speaks to the fact that you can live a life of faith, but then step away from it, due to the pressures that come when you walk by faith in spite of what you see around you. You have two choices where faith is concerned: live it, and consequently please God, or shrink back from it, which obviously does not please Him. Are you shrinking back in any area, like finances and giving? Are you as 'radical' in faith as you once were, or have you 'matured' and become more rational? Why not ask the Lord to show you if you are in a shrink-back posture in your life?

Lord, walking in faith can challenge everything in me and also those closest to me. It is easy to abandon the walk of faith by reducing my world to its most manageable components. I don't want to shrink back, Lord, but need You to show me if I have. Am I still pleasing You where my faith walk is concerned?

Blue Jeans for Jesus

Tomorrow I will wire Pastor Peter the $1,500 he needs to repair his wrecked bus!  Thank you so much for your 1 WAPIS Kids 1 generosity in making this happen. This will not only provide him transport, it will also allow him to rent out the bus for much needed funds!  In the meantime, Peter wrote me on Saturday with this update (click on pics to enlarge; these kids are so cute; the jeans were all new and given to us from a kids store that went out of business):

Dear Dr. John,

This is another day that the Lord has made for us and we have to rejoice and be happy in it. At WAPIS we have purposed to rejoice while serving God in his vineyard. The ministry of distributing the gifts you sent is on track and we are 1 WAPIS Kids 2making sure that the most deserving kids are benefiting from this program. We have seen many actions of appreciation from the community, the schools and individuals who benefit from this gift. At WAPIS, we are only thanking God for the smiles you have brought to these kids.

I have attached pictures of kids in one of the school in a coffee and tea 1 WAPIS Kids 3plantation in our community. This group of kids is special because most of their parents are low paid workers in this farm and are living in very deplorable conditions, to the extent that affording such jeans is a miracle. We wish to thank you on their behalf because in you a generation with hope is being raised. We could not have been able to touch them with gifts of love without your support. We thank all our partners and may God answer you in your hour of need.

 He is the reason for our living.

 Pastor Peter

1 WAPIS Kids 4This week someone donated 15 laptops to our work along with 28 boxes of books.  But the need is great and we need more - books, educational supplies (at left is what Peter gave the school from our last shipment), laptops and shoes (of which someone has collected enough to fill half her garage!).  Plus all this will eventually need to be shipped over, which of course will require cash. Also, last week I pointed out that $41 will feed an orphan for a month and three people gave that amount, for which I am grateful. If you can give supplies, write me and I will send you an address to which you can ship. If you can give money, you can do so through my website (via PayPal) or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you in advance for your help and of course we thank God for the chance to serve Him and His people in such a delightful manner.

Pearl 147: Prayer Certainty

TOPIC: Faith and Prayer

"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer,
believe that you have received it, and it will be yours" - Mark 11:24.

These are Jesus' words, and they can be open to all kinds of misapplication. Yet if you wrestle with something in prayer and come to the conclusion that God has heard you and approved, then it is as good as given, as good as done. At that point, you shift from petition to thanksgiving, whether or not you have actually seen the answer occur. Have you ever had an experience where you prayed and gave thanks, even before the answer came? Can you be so certain of something you asked for in faith, that you act like the answer has come, even though it has not appeared? What keeps this dynamic in prayer from happening in your life more often?

Lord, I usually give up in prayer before I am certain that you have heard me and will grant my petition. Thus I seldom walk in the prayer certainty of an answer that is coming but not yet arrived. Help me to understand and then incorporate this dynamic in my walk with You, without being weird or presumptuous.

Pearl 146: Purpose Vision

TOPIC: Faith and Purpose

"By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months
after he was born, because they saw he was no
ordinary child, and they were not afraid
of the king’s edict" - Hebrews 11:23.

Moses' parents 'saw' something in their son, Moses, and acted accordingly. What could they have seen in a little baby? They saw his purpose! When they saw his purpose, they knew they had to ignore the king's edict to toss the male babies into the river. They did put him in the river in a way; they simply put him in a waterproof basket first! You can only see your purpose (or anyone else's) through the eyes of faith. What do you see concerning your purpose? That of your spouse or children? Those around you with whom you work? What difference is what you see making in your life?

Lord, I want to see purpose in myself and others, just like Moses' parents saw it. Open my eyes to see purpose wherever it is, and then give me purpose vision that will make it clear what I must do to prepare, again just like Moses' parents. Part of that is overcoming the fear that can cripple my efforts.

Pearl 145: Faith's Way

TOPIC: Faith and Pride

“Behold, as for the proud one,
His soul is not right within him;
But the righteous will live by his faith" - Habakkuk 2:4.

Notice that today's verse, oft quoted in the New Testament, is from the Old Testament. This tells us that faith was the standard for living in the times before Christ. What's more, notice that the opposite of faith in this verse is not fear or doubt.  It is pride. The proud person says, "I can do it myself," or "I demand answers and an explanation before I will get involved and act." Are you that proud person? Are you disguising your pride as responsibility and a rational approach, when it is nothing more than insisting on having God do things your way and according to your timetable?

Lord, I see that faith has always been Your requirement for fellowship with You. Nothing has changed, yet at times I want to change the rules by requiring that I see my way before I trusty You. That does not please You. I ask your forgiveness for my pride and I humble myself to do things your way, which is faith's way.

Pearl 144: Blind and Lame

TOPIC: Faith and Action

"On that day David had said, 'Anyone who conquers the Jebusites
will have to use the water shaft to reach those ‘lame and blind’
who are David’s enemies.” That is why they say,
'The ‘blind and lame’ will not enter the palace'" - 2 Samuel 5:8.

This verse makes no sense because later David welcomed a lame descendant of Saul into his royal court. So to what is it referring? The 'blind' who cannot see through eyes of faith and the 'lame' who see but cannot carry out their faith vision are both not welcome in the palace of the King. Read Hebrews 11 and notice that everyone who had faith 'saw' something and then 'walked it out' in practical terms. What do you see in faith? And are you walking toward that vision, or delaying and making excuses of why you cannot do it now?

Lord, I don't want to be a spectator but a participant in this faith journey. I don't want to be counted among the blind or lame when it comes to Your work that You have for me. If I can't see it, show it to me! If I have seen it and am guilty of delay, then show me the steps I can take today to reach that vision.