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'm 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 stubbornness, hardness of heart, and unbelief; I have no excuses.

Pearl 297: Faith's Purpose

TOPIC: Faith and Worship

"Then the man said, 'Lord, I believe,' and he worshiped him" - John 9:38.

When Jesus healed and then confronted the man born blind, the man declared his faith in Christ and that faith led him to worship Jesus. That's the supreme end of faithnot to receive the object or desires of your faith but to worship the author of your faith, that author being Jesus. Your faith is not a commodity with which you make transactions with God, but the source of your relationship with God. Is your faith growing? If it is, then is your worship and adoration for God growing? Are you using faith to get things from God or as a means to get to God?

Lord, I worship You for who You are, not for what You can do for me. Yet You do so much, and have always rewarded my faith not only by meeting my needs but also with Your presence. I take this moment to thank You and worship You as my Savior and King, and I exalt You as Lord above all.

Pearl 296: Flow

TOPIC: Faith and Impact

"Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said,
rivers of living water will flow from within them" - John 7:38.

When you put your faith in Christ, then living water should emanate from you that brings life to those around you. The water that flows from you should not be bitter or salty, but it should taste like you - be flavored with your gifts, purpose, experiences, perspective and unique wisdom. These waters should not be artificially flavored as you try to be someone other than who God made you to be. Are waters flowing from you due to your faith in Christ? Are these waters flowing from you freely and with great force? Who is being touched and sustained by your waters?

Lord, I want my faith in You to impact others and that means I must not dam up the water that You want to flow from me. My fear of being myself can be one thing that stops my waters, along with trying to be someone other than who You intended me to be. From this day forward, I will let my inner waters flow.

Pearl 295: Controlling Fear

TOPIC: Faith and Focus

"Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus,
'Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed'" - Luke 8:50.

The report came that Jairus' daughter was dead. Jesus told Jairus to ignore the report and trust God, for his daughter's healing was still within reach if he controlled his fear and exercised faith. That is a good formula for you to follow: listen to Jesus and not the circumstances, control your fear and maintain your faith focus. Where are you focusing on a negative report about the facts? Are you afraid because of what you have seen or heard? Can you see how important it is to restore and maintain your faith focus?

Lord, I am aware that I have a tendency to focus on what is seen rather than what is unseen. Faith requires that I learn to focus on You and not on the situation in which I find myself, otherwise I succumb to fear. Teach me, Lord, to keep my eyes on You and speak to me as You did to Jairus to help me when I stumble.