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November 2016

with Joshua Ray

Local author Joshua Ray shares his thoughts on the Scriptures, faith, & Biblical finances.

At the foot of the mountain, a large crowd was waiting for them. A man came and knelt before Jesus and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son. He has seizures and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. So I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.”

Jesus said, “You faithless and corrupt people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Then Jesus rebuked the demon in the boy, and it left him. From that moment the boy was well.

Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?” “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”

—Matthew 17:14-20

In the above Scripture, Jesus heals an epileptic boy. In this particular passage Jesus voiced his concern about the disciple’s lack of faith to heal the boy. Although Jesus is displeased about the lack of faith, there is a hidden message there. Embedded within his displeasure, He acknowledges that they were capable of the task. In turn, we too are capable of doing much more in our lives than we give ourselves credit for. If we were not capable of living the kind of life that Jesus lived, He would not have responded the way He did. Did you catch the point I just made?

Let me rephrase it a different way. All too often, teachers or preachers will focus on the fact that Jesus was displeased about their lack of faith or unbelief. What I want to point out is that Jesus is displeased because He is convinced that they were capable of living a supernatural life. Likewise, we are capable of living a life filled with the same kind of power that Jesus had. His response demonstrates to us that we are not living up to our full capacity when it comes to living a life filled with power and blessing. Got it now? This is significant! Our Saviour believes in us and our ability to live with power to such a degree that it affects our lives, and the lives of people around us!

If you have been a Christian for some time, you have heard the story from the Old Testament about Moses sending a group of men into the promised land. When they came back they had two different stories. One story was about how they were small in the eyes of the people who inhabited the land. The other story was about how they can overtake the land and the people within it. There were two perceptions presented to Moses. One was a perception of defeatism, and the other was a perception of being able and capable of achieving good things.

In Mark 9:23, Jesus tells us that as long as we believe, all things are possible. Where some churches have missed the mark is that they do not believe in themselves. I’m going to bring something to light whether it hurts or not: new age thinkers have turned to the self help section of their bookstores and found a book called “The Law of Attraction”. Some of them have seen results from what they have learned and what they have come to believe. Take notice that secular practitioners of LOA are not just getting results, but that they believe in themselves too. This is supposed to be a foundational Christian belief.

As a teacher, my goal is to see that you begin to view yourself in a different light. See yourself the way God sees you. Recognize that you are a new creation. Begin to believe in yourself and begin exercising your faith to manifest the life that Jesus lived.

The book of Hebrews is a wonderful book to read in order to understand what it means to have faith. In Hebrews 11:1-8, Paul writes that faith is the evidence of things hoped for, that faith is the evidence of things not seen. In other words, your faith (or your belief in something that is not yet seen) is evidence to people around you that something is going to manifest. In fact, if you read on, Paul mentions that God created the world by faith and God spoke what He wanted to see into existence. New Age practitioners focus primarily on this concept when it comes to the law of attraction. They envision the life they want and the things they want in it. They believe it can and will happen and then they speak as though it has happened. Eventually it manifests in their life. If God designed the universe to respond to His children, then why can’t the church experience the same results, if not faster and better?

If you read further on in those verses, Paul demonstrates that those who live by faith also obtain wonderful things from God. Noah acted on faith that a catastrophic event would take place and he prepared for it by creating a huge boat (a crazy idea huh?). The problem most people have is they are too quick to criticize ideas or criticize themselves before making an attempt to see where the idea could lead them. I know this is a faith article but I need to point out this financial concept: God gives us the ability to create wealth, but if we do not use that ability in faith, then wealth cannot be created.

In James 1:25, it states that one who is a doer of the work is also one that is blessed. If you do nothing to create the life you want, then how can you manifest a life that is blessed? There must be action on your part in order to manifest the health, the wealth, and the life that you want.

When you take action, it is a sign of faith, and some form of result will occur. When Jesus walked on the water Peter called out to Him and said, “If that is you, call me out to you.” Jesus then invoked Peter to take action to raise his faith level. Jesus told him to step out of the boat and come to Him. The fact that Peter stepped out of the boat means that something has to manifest. Most teachers or preachers will harp on the fact that Peter took his eyes off Jesus and lost his faith, and began to sink. What I’d like to focus on, is the fact that Peter took a step out of the boat in order to activate his faith, and he got some form of result.

I would like to bring to your attention the fact that when Peter took action, one of two things occurred. The first thing was immediate success— which resulted in walking on water. The second thing was failure, because he stopped believing, which resulted in Jesus reaching out to save him. So in either case, because Peter trusted Jesus, Peter won despite the eventual outward appearance of failure in the sinking. How so? He took action and walked on water, then sank, but Jesus reached out to save him.

The crucial difference between being a Christian who practices their faith and being someone who practices the Law Of Attraction without knowing who Christ is, is that one is saved and the other is not. The one who knows Christ will always win because Jesus is involved— He saves. The one who doesn’t know Jesus still feels like a failure if something doesn’t work out, or they feel unfulfilled if they do acquire all the things they’ve wanted, because they did it without Christ being there for them.

All this being said, there is something to LOA, and it gets results. Why? It’s because God put it in place for all of us to use. Getting results through faith, even if it’s just a few small results, is far better than not getting any result at all for fear of not trying.

In 2 Chronicles 31:21 Hezekiah did what God asked him to do, and when he did, he prospered. When Jesus asked his disciples to do something, and did it, they always prospered. Have faith that Christ has faith in you to do His good works!

Our Saviour believes in us and our ability to live with power to such a degree that it affects our lives, and the lives of people around us!


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