God needs you

Wow, did you catch that title? God needs you.

Kind of a bold statement, wouldn’t you say? God—creator of the universe, totally self sufficient and all powerful—needs you.

How can that be? God doesn’t need anything. Agreed. But, I believe God has chosen to need us. He doesn’t need us to exist, but I believe he has chosen us to rule and reign over the earth.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Adam and Eve were on the earth, and God gave them a simple command, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28).

They were given a simple command. Take control of the earth. They were in charge of their huge Home. But, something happened. Satan deceived them and that control was handed over to him. All of sudden, there was a new “ruler of this world” (John 12:31). Adam and Eve surrendered their control.

Prior to the Fall, God set laws and ordinances in place so that man would rule and reign over the earth. It was their job to “subdue the earth and have dominion.”

God purposely limited his power and involvement on the earth. In fact, God does nothing without the help of man. Nothing on earth can happen without man’s involvement. Think about some of the stories in the Bible:

    David & Goliath: God could have easily stricken Goliath dead, but he didn’t. He chose a boy, David, to take him down (1 Samuel 17).

    Mount Carmel: There were more than 900 evil “prophets”, and God wanted to demonstrate his power, but he required just one man to show his power through. Elijah prayed and God responded (1 Kings 18).

    The Disciples: Why didn’t Jesus just broadcast his message to the world? He did, but through his 12 followers. It was their job to carry his message to the ends of the earth (Mark 16:15).

Way too many people are passive in their walk with God. Well, if God wants to do it, he’ll just do it. Wrong! God is waiting for you to pray, to believe, to “take dominion”. He has chosen to need us as his conduit into the earth. It’s our job, our responsibility to bring the Kingdom of God to the earth.

Be careful here. We don’t have the power to do supernatural things here on the earth. We only have natural power (strength, knowledge, movement, reason). But, if we surrender our “natural powers” to God through prayer and faith, then God will release his supernatural power through us into the earth.

Let me show you this in scripture using one of my favorite versus from Ephesians 3:20. Most Christians can quote it by memory: “God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.”

It doesn’t sound like God needs us, does it? Well, that’s because we never quote the whole scripture. There is one small phrase at the end of that verse that most people leave off: “…according to the power that works in us.” Those words “…according to” literally mean “limited through us”.

God can do wonderfully, exceedingly amazing things in the earth and in our lives, but they must be done through prayer and faith, and through our relationship with God in Christ Jesus.

What I believe

I wish I could tell you that I was a pillar of faith. But I’m not. I struggle with faith just as much as the next person. Let me give you some examples of what I believe and things I struggle believing.

Here are some things I believe:

  • I believe God is passionately and madly in love with me.
  • I believe that through Christ, I am righteous and holy.
  • I believe that when I die, I’m headed straight to heaven.
  • I believe heaven is going to be awesome and wonderful!
  • I believe God is working around the clock to help me, strengthen me and encourage me.
  • I believe God desires for us to be healed and whole–body, soul and mind.
  • I believe that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives inside of us.

Those are some of the things that I really believe, undoubtedly. I have no doubts about them. They are just facts to me. I don’t question them. I don’t struggle with believing them. They are truth to me.

But then there are things that I just struggle to believe. I know in my head they are true, but in my heart, there are doubts, like:

  • Can God really shape an election based on our prayers?
  • I’ve been praying for someone’s salvation for years. Is it helping?
  • I need healing. I believe in healing. But, why isn’t it happening yet?
  • I want to change in some areas, but I’m finding it so hard.
  • When finances are flowing, life is good. But when they start to ebb, so does my faith.
  • I need to stop drinking coffee, but I love the stuff. I doubt at times that God can help me stop drinking coffee.

Isn’t that amazing!?! I can believe that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives inside of me, and at the same time, I doubt God can help me quit the coffee. That’s just messed up.

Satan knows that our faith is what activates the spiritual into the natural. He knows real faith makes a difference in our lives. Faith pleases God (Hebrews 11:6). God loves it when we believe, really believe. And Satan knows that. So, he’s number one target is our faith. His most powerful weapon is unbelief. If he can get us to doubt God, then he has won.

Think about it. Have you ever had any of these thoughts:

  • I’ve tried praying for this issue in my life, but nothing has changed. I guess God just wants me to live this way.
  • My mom died from cancer. My grandma died from cancer. I’m probably going to die from cancer.
  • This is just the way I am. I can’t change.
  • God is all powerful, and no matter what I pray for, he’ll do what he wants anyway.
  • I keep messing up, over and over. I guess God doesn’t want to help me.

Who do you think is the source of these thoughts? Where do they come from? They are not from God. The enemy has a vast number of resources to get us thinking this way. And, it’s wrong. While these thoughts may look like humble, Christian thoughts, all of them are rooted in unbelief.

God is passionately pursing us and fights hard for our faith. That’s what we need to believe!

Faithless generation

This is another one of those amazing stories about faith, about believing:

    When they arrived at the foot of the mountain, a huge crowd was waiting for them. A man came and knelt before Jesus and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, because 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 replied, “You stubborn, faithless people! How long must I be with you until you believe? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy 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 didn’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I assure you, even if you had faith 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).

I find this story amazing because here the disciples had been with Jesus for quite awhile now, and they had seen the miracles, the power, the results of faith in Jesus. At this point, they had seen bread and fish multiplied (Matthew 14:19), they had seen Jesus (and Peter) walk on the water (Matthew 14:25), and they had seen numerous miracles. Surely, you would think they could believe by now. Maybe it wasn’t the disciples lack of faith as much as it was the people’s lack of faith. Jesus did rebuke them, “You stubborn, faithless people.”

Yet, it was when he was long with the disciples that he said, “You didn’t have enough faith.” So, it was their lack of faith as well. They didn’t believe. If they had just a mustard seed of faith, “nothing would be impossible.”

What seems impossible to you right now? An upcoming reorg at work? A struggling marriage? Rebellious kids? A serious sickness? What seems impossible to you, right now? Listen carefully to the words of Jesus, “If you have enough faith, nothing is impossible. If you believe, it is possible.

Do you believe?

There is one area in my journey with God that has really changed how I pray and how I respond to God. Faith.

In the New Testament, the Greek word often translated as “faith” is pistis. Interestingly, the Greek word often translated as “believe” is pisteuo. The Greek words are the same, except one is a noun (pistis) and one is a verb (pisteuo), but it’s the same word.

In my journey, I have found faith/belief to be essential to the Christian walk. And conversely, I have found that our greatest enemy is not the devil, but our unbelief. He is defeated. His power and authority has been stripped away at the Cross. But, we must believe in order to reclaim our authority.

Ask yourself a simple question, “What do you really believe?” When you pray for peace, or strength, or victory over some bondage or fear, do you believe? I mean really believe?

We say we believe, but in all honesty, I’m not sure we do. We probably just hope. Read these scriptures and see how faith/belief empowers our prayers:

    Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I assure you that you can say to this mountain, ‘May God lift you up and throw you into the sea,’ and your command will be obeyed. All that’s required is that you really believe and do not doubt in your heart. Listen to me! You can pray for anything, and if you believe, you will have it” (Mark 11:22-24).

    “It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

We’ve got to believe. When we pray, beg and plead with God about something, and then don’t believe he will answer, we’re like a wave tossed about by the sea:

    “But when you ask [God], be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6, 7).

Look at your prayer life. When you pray, do you “really believe and not doubt in your heart”? Or, do you struggle with unbelief? Do you have thoughts like, “God won’t answer my prayers. I’m too much of a sinner. It hasn’t worked in the past. Why pray?”

Do you realize that unbelief limits the power of God to work in our lives? Check out one of the most amazing scriptures regarding faith:

    Because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any mighty miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief” (Mark 6:5, 6b).

Did you catch that? “He couldn’t do any mighty miracles.” It’s not that he wouldn’t. He couldn’t. He was limited. His hands were tied. His power was limited. Why? They didn’t believe. And Jesus “was amazed at their unbelief.”

Over the next few weeks, I hope to share more in this area, including some of my experiences (and failures) regarding faith.

Another “random” thought?

This week, I had another “random” thought that turned out to be more than just a thought.

A few weeks ago, I purchased some new video production equipment for a project. It wasn’t a big deal, just something I needed to do. The piece of equipment is kind of rare—not everyone has this equipment. There’s probably only two or three in the Dallas area.

This past week, I was on the set of a friend’s production. They are shooting a new web series. And, my friend is using this special piece of equipment. He bought his last year. While I was on set, I had this thought, “I guess with me purchasing this same equipment, he could always call upon me in case there are any problems.” Random thought, or was it?

A couple of days ago, my son and I were driving down to Austin for some business meetings. While driving down, I received a phone call. The caller ID revealed it was my producer friend. That’s odd, I thought. He’s in the middle of production. He shouldn’t be calling me. I hope it’s not about the equipment.

Sure enough, his rare production equipment had broke, and he needed to borrow mine to maintain his tight production schedule. Interesting.

I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal to most people. In fact, most would just call it a coincidence. But, I don’t believe in coincidence. I believe it was that “still, small voice of God” that was simply giving me a “heads up”.

The struggle we all face is how to distinguish which thoughts are mine, which thoughts are God and which thoughts come from the devil. It’s a struggle because they all sound the same. It’s the words, the content that helps us know who is saying it.

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