Pearl 349: Family

TOPIC: Faith and Fear

"So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the Lord told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the townspeople, he did it at night rather than in the daytime" - Judges 6:27.

Gideon had faith to obey the Lord, but there was one major stumbling block for faith in his life, and that was his family. He did what God wanted in this instance but did so under the cover of darkness. The opposite of faith is not un-faith or unbelief, but rather fear. Gideon was afraid of what his family would think and say, so he carried out a clandestine faith operation. Jesus also addressed this problem as you can read in Matthew 10:32-39What are you afraid of that is hindering your faith? Is your relationship with your family one that sustains and promotes your faith, or hinders it? What are you prepared to do about that if the latter is the case?

Lord, I love my family, but I am too concerned about what they will say and think. At times, I also need them to need me, so I do things that perpetuate an unhealthy situation that hinders my faith. Forgive me for ever putting my family before You and Your purposes for my life. That is about to change.

Pearl 346: Heart Attack

TOPIC: Faith and Will

"See to it, brothers and sisters, that none
of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that
turns away from the living God" - Hebrews 3:12.

You are to 'see to it' that you don't have an unbelieving heart. That indicates that a faith-less heart is your decision and under your control not to have one. When you don't take care of your heart and faith, then you turn away from God, and that is fatal where purpose and goals are concerned. This makes perfect sense, for without faith it is impossible to please God. Is your heart full of faith? Do you see un-faith as a sin, or simply a weakness? Do you accept responsibility to keep your heart in good faith condition?

Lord, I don't want to have a heart attack of unbelief. Therefore I choose to trust You, not just for salvation, but for all the affairs of life, including purpose and goals. Help me keep watch over my heart and to know when it is weak in faith, so I can correct that condition immediately by Your grace.

Pearl 338: An Email From Heaven?

TOPIC: Faith and Purpose

"Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah.
'Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,”
he said, “and then I will come with you'" - 1 Kings 19:20.

On their first encounter, Elisha went home to bid farewell to his family, and followed Elijah until his death. That required tremendous faith that it wasn't just Elijah talking to Elisha, but that the Lord was speaking through him. You won't find or fulfill purpose without the same kind of faith, for you won't receive an email from heaven outlining your purpose assignment. You will have to trust that God is speaking to you through others or circumstances, and then act in faith to structure your life accordingly. Are you waiting for that email from heaven? Are you trying to move with such certainty that faith is not required? Are you trusting that you can know God's will through faith?

Lord, I admit that I read how Elisha reacted with such certain faith and it scares me, thinking that I may have to do the same. He walked away from his world based on Elijah's word and went in a different direction. Help me to have that kind of resolve and faith, putting my trust in You completely.

Pearl 304: Blindspots

TOPIC: Faith and Thinking

"He said to them, 'How foolish you are, and how
slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things
and then enter his glory?'" - Luke 24:25-26.

The disciples on the Emmaus Road could not recognize Jesus, even though they were well acquainted with Him, because they thought He was dead. Your thinking determines what you hear and see, even where God is concerned. So these disciples were slow to believe and that made them foolish in Jesus' estimation. Where are you also slow to believe what the prophets have written? Where are you reading Scripture but not comprehending because of your thinking? What is God trying to show you that you are blocking because of your mindset and perspective?

Lord, I am foolish, just like those disciples on the road. I am walking with You, but I don't always hear or recognize You because of my small and limited thinking. Deliver me from these blindspots that prevent me from entering in by faith to all that You have for me where my purpose and goals are concerned.

Pearl 303: Non-Sensical

TOPIC: Faith and Thinking

"But they did not believe the women,
because their words seemed to them like nonsense" - Luke 24:11.

People can give you a good faith report that has the potential to stimulate and massage your faith, but if you don't listen carefully, you can dismiss their words as non-sensical. When their report doesn't match your picture of reality, you can miss your opportunity to grow your faith. Your mind picture of what God can do for you needs to change or you will dismiss their testimony and remain in your unbelief. Where is your mindset set for non-faith? Whose testimony have you dismissed instead of welcomed? Where are you missing faith because you consider it non-sensical - not making sense?

Lord, You are faithful and have sent many messengers to awaken my faith, but I have sometimes refused their report.  The problem is my thinking, which made their words sound like nonsense, when in reality, I am the non-sensical one. Deliver me, Lord, from my faith-destructive need to be so sensible!

Pearl 302: Hearing from God

TOPIC: Faith and Unbelief

“'If you are the Messiah,' they said, 'tell us.' Jesus answered, 'If I tell you, you will not believe me'" - Luke 22:67.

You may say, "I will wait to hear from the Lord and then I will have faith and know what to do." In today's verse, Jesus said that when He speaks, it is no guarantee you will have faith and obey. If you are not careful,  you can read His word or hear His still, small voice and still not believe or obey what Jesus is saying. Have you refused to obey in any area of your life the Lord has been addressing? Have your assumptions about God, who He is, or what He will ask you to do affected your ability to hear and have faith? (For example, "I don't have money so God can't be speaking to me about being generous. I am too old, God can't be speaking to me about ministry or missions.") Do you have courage to ask God to show you where those areas of disobedience are in your life?

Lord, I ask You today to show me where I am not believing what You said, whether in Your word or in Your other communications to me. In advance, I ask Your forgiveness and commit today to walk in faith by believing what it is that You say, no matter what my bias or preconceived notions may be.

Pearl 301: Reach Out

TOPIC: Faith and Doubt

"Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it  into my side. Stop doubting and believe'" - John 20:27.

Jesus commanded Doubting Thomas to do what he had to do to go beyond his doubts and acquire faith. The command indicates that it is within our capacity to decide to have faith, for Jesus did not suggest that Thomas have faith--He commanded him to have it. If you go looking for reasons to doubt, you will find them and your faith will deflate like a balloon with a hole in it. If you choose to find faith, you will find that, too. The choice is yours. What can you do today to reach out and find faith? Why is it so easy for you to focus on your doubts? Do you see that Jesus commands you, just like He did Thomas, to stop doubting and believe?

Lord, I confess that at times I am like Thomas, finding all kinds of reasons to talk myself out of faith into doubt. I have made the excuse that I'm only human and that faith is too difficult or only for a few special people. Today I vow to reach out and touch something that will enhance and feed my faith as you have commanded me to do!

Pearl 300: Evidence

TOPIC: Faith and Logic

"Believe me when I say that I am in the Father
and the Father is in me; or at least believe on
the evidence of the works themselves" - John 14:11.

In this verse Jesus said that faith is within the realm of reason, saying if you can't believe based on who I am or what I say, then base your belief on what I do. When you see Jesus' mighty works, you should conclude that He is worthy of your faith, so to speak. So faith is not a feeling but can be a logical decision based on God's goodness and grace. Take a moment today to reflect on God's goodness and then make a decision today to trust Him in some area where you have allowed fear and doubt to rule in your mind. Where in your life do you have enough evidence of God's goodness that you can make a decision to trust Him regardless of how you feel?

Lord, I choose to trust You today because of the overwhelming evidence of the work You have done in my life and in the lives of those around me. In light of this evidence, I put my faith in You, not just for salvation, but for the fulfillment of the promises You have made to me through Your Word. Amen!

Pearl 299: Simple Formula

TOPIC: Faith and Peace

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me" - John 14:1.

Your heart does not have to be troubled if you don't want it to be. Jesus told His followers to be careful not to allow their hearts to be in turmoil. And what was Jesus' next command? It was to have faith in Him! So let's summarize. You can keep your heart free from fear, anxiety, and trouble, and the way to do that is to put your faith and trust in Jesus. That seems a pretty straightforward and simple formula for inner peace. Is your heart troubled about something? Can you see that you have control over whether or not it is? What steps can you take today to bring peace to your heart?

Lord, I see Your formula for my peace and it seems almost beyond my reach. My heart is troubled so often, but today I realize it is because I allow it to be. Help me to follow Your simple formula, which allows me to know that my faith is small when my heart is in turmoil. Therefore, if I want the peace that passes all understanding found in You, I need to put my trust in You for whatever is troubling my heart. Thank you!

Pearl 298: Perpetual Doubt

TOPIC: Faith and Action

"Even after Jesus had performed so many signs
in their presence, they still would not believe in him" - John 12:37.

It is easy to think, "What was wrong with those Jews? If I had been there, I would have seen what Jesus did and believed!" Yet Jesus does just as many miracles today and people still don't believe; maybe even you fit that description. If God has done great things for you in your past, but you still live in fear and doubt today, then you are in some ways just like Jesus' contemporaries. Has God always provided for you, but you live in constant fear of lack? Did He miraculously provide for you to do something but today you refuse to act until you see some sign of His presence? Do you live in perpetual doubt that God can do something for others but you are not sure He will and can do it for you?

Lord, I see today that I can be like those Jews I have judged and dismissed as fools for not believing. I am just as guilty, for I have many testimonies of Your faithfulness to me, but I act today like I have none. Forgive me for my stubborness, hardness of heart and unbelief; I have no excuses.