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For Real - A Devotion

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Mark 11:22-24 (NLT)
Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.

Do you believe in God’s Faithfulness enough to wait? Jesus said, “Have faith in God!” If you really believe in the Power of God offered through Jesus Christ, His Son, you can ask anything according to His Will and Word and it will most definitely happen. No excuses. No diversions. It’s going to come to pass…if you really believe it will happen and do not have doubt in your heart. You can pray for ANYTHING and if you believe you will receive it. It will be yours. Yeah, right? I heard that sigh, groan and disbelief oozing with disappointment from underneath your breath. That’s okay, the Lord sees past our words and carefully constructed religious airs into our heart. If you are a faith talker but not a faith walker – He already knows. That’s right, and He is really ticked off about it. Okay, not really, but that’s what most people think. If you do not have faith or do not believe that God instantly turns away and ignores us completely disgusted with our bad behavior and childish ways. How little we really know the Lord? The Lord does not get annoyed over our weaknesses. In fact, He died so we could overcome them not by might or by power but by His Spirit. (Isaiah 53:4, Zechariah 4:6) The only thing that God finds detestable is sin of any and every kind. Great! I struggle with that, too. No worries. His Blood covers every sin that we have committed and ever will commit carrying them as far as the east is from the west making a clear pathway for God’s People to make it back to Him. (Psalm 103:11-12) He loves us as a Father. No good and responsible father would reject a child for their mistakes but use them to teach a child wisdom. It is by discipline that children are molded and shaped into responsible adults. Left on their own and to their own devices, the sinful nature will surely overtake them with impulsivity and immaturity leading to imminent destruction. That’s not God, but until we know the Lord for real that’s exactly who we think He is.

Have faith in God. How does one properly evaluate faith for authenticity? How do we know that we truly believe? It is important to discover the truth about our beliefs as it is the basis for our life and will dictate the outcome of our life as well.

Romans 5:1-5(NLT)
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

When my kids share a story that seems unbelievable or impossible, their sibling will ask if they are “for real?” What they are asking is “are you telling me the truth” or “do you expect me to believe this”? With this bunch of crazy people, there is no telling what the answer will be. In the South, we call it “pulling your leg” which means joking or fooling around and this group does a lot of that. But when it comes to the Lord, we must live by real and authentic faith which is based on God’s Truth. It must be the foundation of our life. Without faith, it is impossible to ever please God because it is only by faith that we are saved and allowed access to Him. We are made right with God by our ability to know and trust Jesus Christ. Those who do will be brought into a life of “undeserved privilege” which is a confident and joyful position no matter what surrounds them in the natural because their heart is secure. If you have faith in Jesus, you must believe. If you believe, you will wait. If you wait, He will come. Let’s test the authenticity. When going running into problems or trials, can you rejoice? You know still love other people and treat them well. Can you speak without groaning, complaining or grumbling about your trouble? How is your endurance? Do you have a long fuse or very short one? Refinement is commonly compared to fire. What comes out when the heat is turned up in your life? I work with several women in varying stages of menopause. When it gets hot in the dog days of summer, Lord have mercy. You have never seen so much wailing and carrying on. Calling for fans and needing relief from the sweltering body clock that is now out of whack. A little endurance would be nice but due to the “overwhelming” circumstances it is out of the question. Endurance is a product of godly character. It means those who have faith in God and believe keep on keeping on knowing He is coming. What about confident hope in your salvation? This can be summed up in the time you spend with the Lord praying, worshipping, praising, serving, loving and basking. You are preparing for an Eternity together. Wouldn’t work out if you were complete strangers yet the average American spends less than one minute thinking about each day. Those who have confident hope believe the Lord is coming for them and live like it every single day. Confidence means you believe that God will not disappoint you! Anytime we contradict God’s Word or His Spirit, it betrays a heart that is not confident in the Lord. It tells of weak faith, a lack of true wisdom, and unbelief. Our faith must be for real to move mountains much less get us into Heaven to live with the Lord.

Romans 10:9-10 (NLT)
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.

Do you believe in God’s Faithfulness enough to wait on the Lord? Do not be hasty in your reply because your very life and wellbeing are highly dependent on the truth of this statement in your life. Do you believe? I pray because I believe. I cry out to God because I believe. I meet Him each morning because I believe. I wait for something to happen expectantly because I believe. (Psalm 5:1-3) I am confident because I believe. I will see Him because I believe. I have courage because I believe. Because I believe, I will wait on the Lord. (Psalm 27:13-14) I am strong because I believe. I will stand because I believe. I will triumph and overcome because I believe. (Psalm 59:9-10) I will be victorious because I believe. I am unshakeable because I believe. (Psalm 62:1-2) There is power and potential to change your life in what you believe or do not believe about the Lord. To believe means to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something (in this case the Lord) although without absolute proof that you are right in doing so. Okay that sounds a lot like faith doesn’t it. “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1) Those who really believe in God will wait on the Lord. If you are unwilling to wait on the Lord, then you do not have total faith and belief that He is coming bringing all His Love, Grace and Mercy with Him. What you believe will change every attitude and action in your life! If you believe that God is our Father, Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord and you are filled with the Holy Spirit – you will wait on the Lord and live your belief while doing so. This is faith that is for real.

Habakkuk 2:1-3 (NLT)
I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guard post. There I will wait to see what the LORD says and how he will answer my complaint. Then the LORD said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.

Are you waiting on the Lord today? Those who believe wait on God every single day for every single thing knowing that what He offers is better than this life. Faith turns to confident hope that today does not dictate tomorrow or even the next day so we can wait on the Lord not worrying that life is passing us by. ”The faithful love of The LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” The LORD is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD.” (Lamentations 3:22-26) We must gain confidence in the faithful love of God rejecting the lie of the enemy that convinces us that God is mad at us or punishing us. God is perfecting us so that can receive more and more grace resulting in His Glory overtaking our life. His Mercy is fresh every morning even when we exhaust it all and then some the day before. He knows you are not perfect. The Lord sees right through you because He lives in you. How will God answer your complaint today? He will make you wait. I tell my children when they are mad at me or do not like my instruction, “You can get happy in the same pants you got mad in” and I believe God will let us wait long enough to figure this out, too. Faith is for the end of our life. Confident hope will endure this life with joy and peace to make it to the finish line of faith and receive the ultimate prize that is salvation. You are not saved on this earth but marked for redemption. The rat race of life calls for endurance. You are going to fall but then climb right back up on the watchtower and stand guard over your heart. If you have faith in God and truly believe, then you will wait!

Romans 8:23-30 (NLT)
And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
There is a lot of hype that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and though there is some validity to that statement the truth. The fact remains that faith coupled with belief turned to confident hope in Jesus Christ is the Only Way to the Father’s Heart. When I am weak, He is strong around me, in me and through me. You must live what you believe. If you believe, you will wait and wait some more. For those who have waited so long that you may have forgotten what exactly you are waiting on, remember this “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Silence does not mean that the Lord is not working all the details good and not so good or even bad together for His Good. Actually, I am beginning to believe in that moment the Lord is testing our faith in our ability to wait on His Faithfulness to come. The Word of God will always help us wait as we are reminded of His Promises. (Romans 15:3-5) It will never return void. We miss out simply by refusing to wait for it to come to pass in God’s Timing so we try to make it happen on our own. We must live by His Spirit who is the guarantee that He will do everything that God promised us that He would do. (Galatians 5:5, Ephesians 1:14) Who better to comfort and care for us as we wait then His Spirit? God will do exactly what He says if we are willing to wait confirming our faith is intact and heart secured by confident hope. (Hebrews 6:14-15) Belief demonstrated in waiting brings us to the Lord who has been waiting for us to come so He could fulfill His Promises. (Isaiah 30:18) We must strive for wisdom. (Proverbs 8:32-35) Jesus is the Word of God made flesh and the best example of how to live a life pleasing to God. Oprah and Dr. Oz may have some good tips for this life, but if you are after Eternal Life that is an “Us and God” thing found only in His Way (Jesus), the Word, and His Will. Accept no substitutions or shortcuts. Do the time. Wait on the Lord expectantly today not because I told you to but because you want all that God has for you! It is worth having. I do not regret a single time that I have had to wait on the Lord because He has been faithful in coming every single time. We must wait on Jesus Christ, His Coming will settle everything. “But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.” Philippians 3:20-21) What does this mean? There will be some things that we must wait for until He comes and that is okay too!

James 5:7-11 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door! For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.

You are not waiting alone. The Body of Jesus Christ waits together for His Return. I wonder if we had real faith with true expectancy if we could stop worrying about our life, problems and worries quite so much and decide to love each other, maybe just maybe, our wait would not be quite so lonely or seem so long. On Thanksgiving night venturing out to shop a local department store sale, we waited in a long line in the coldness of November. Talking with each other, we began to also chat with the couple standing behind us. Suddenly the wait didn’t seem quite so long and we made some new friends. Faith allows us to sow and reap loving kindness as we wait on the Lord knowing there is no competition for our inheritance is secure. We will reap what we sow so there is no need to bargain for blessing. We are free to love one another, build each other up and work together until He comes…that is if our faith is for real.

2 Peter 3:13-14 (NLT)
But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness. And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.

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