Growing Faith and more…

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Growing Faith and more…

” Growing Faith ” by Laura Tracy.

What are you believing God for? Can I share my faith with you? (I know my understanding is the proverbial drop in a bucket compared to the vastness of God; but if I share that drop in His name, maybe it will water someone’s faith today.)

Jesus did say your faith can be as small as a mustard seed. But He did not approve of it staying that small. Why else would He say “oh ye of little faith” to some and to others “oh what great faith”? No, we are to grow our mustard seed faith into a great tree that gives life.
How do we grow faith? We often quote the scripture, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17, NKJV). That is true, and we absolutely need to hear God’s voice through His Word. But here are a couple of other ways to grow your faith in God:

1. Intentional worship. It is interesting to me that so few seem to have a revelation of the power of worship. When we magnify God, it is doing exactly what a magnifying glass does to any object: makes it bigger — not in reality but to us! And when we begin to see God bigger than our need, faith begins to arise.

2. Faith works by love (Galatians 5:6). If you do not have a real revelation of how much God loves you, you will struggle to believe Him to answer your prayers. When you know that you know that you KNOW that God loves you and wants good things for you, your faith soars. Ask God in prayer to give you a real understanding of His love and see how it impacts your faith. Faith works by love.

Laura Tracy is a talented musician, writer, and mom of two. She and her husband, Jeff, pastor Pentecostal Church in Motion in Nasonworth, New Brunswick.
(Info from: UPCI Ladies Ministries – sisters@upci.org)


” That’s Him! ” by Kathy Brewster.
When the Lord makes a promise to you and you experience the fulfillment of that promise, there are no words to express the exuberance and joy that you feel. It’s like Simeon and Anna in the Temple when they recognized the promised Messiah, proclaiming “that’s him.”

When Mary, the mother of Jesus, received the Holy Ghost, she recognized that feeling of carrying Jesus inside of her the first time. Her joy was a twice felt joy because she was the only one that Jesus quickened two times within. I can just imagine how she felt when she realized “that’s him!”

Recognition of a fulfilled promise renders such statements as “I can’t believe my eyes” or “Is this really happening?” or “I never thought I’d live to see the day.” Astonishment for sure.

“Then was our heart filled with laughter and our tongue with singing.” (Psalm 126:2)

We join the Bible saints in Psalms 126:3 proclaiming, “The Lord has done great things for us whereof we are glad! “

A diagnosis of a brain tumor had prevented my late husband and me from having children. I had faith that the Lord was going to do everything. I believed that He could, but I had to do everything I knew to do. Since faith without works is dead, I did my part by having brain surgery. The Lord allowed our first military assignment to be in the exact city where the top brain surgeon in the United States lived. No coincidence.

That tumor was preventing me from conceiving. I thought my problems would be solved with the surgery but, unfortunately, I was still barren. It took some additional medicine and a miracle for me to get pregnant.

A sudden miscarriage after my second trimester left me so confused since the Lord had promised us a child. Nine years had passed and seemingly there was no hope in sight. But we had a promise, and no matter what obstacles faced us, if God said it then He surely would bring it to pass.

When I got pregnant the second time my husband told everyone that it was a boy. At the baby shower, he instructed everyone to bring only clothes for a boy. Someone asked him, “What if it’s a girl? “His response was, “Then just stone me as a false prophet. “You see, while we served as AIMers in Germany, my husband saw a vision of a little boy. He believed God.

When our promised little boy was born, we were reminded of the faithfulness of our God. When my husband held him, lifted him up, and looked into his face, it was with overwhelming joy that he proclaimed, “That’s him! That’s the little boy that the Lord showed me in a vision over ten years ago.”

Everything the Lord promises us He will surely bring it to pass. In retrospect, we will look back sometimes with astonishment to see His divine thumbprint on that miracle. In our recognition, we will also say, “That’s him.”

In the words of the old song “and I know it was the hand of the Lord!”
(Info from: UPCI Ladies Ministries – sisters@upci.org)


” Don’t Look Back ” by Mary Loudermilk.

“Escape for thy life; look not behind thee…But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:17, 26).
Mention a pillar of salt and most will immediately respond, “Lot’s wife.” We remember that as she and her family fled Sodom, she ignored the warning of the angels to not look back. That one action sealed her fate.

Seemingly small choices often have a major impact on our lives. For Lot, it was just the direction his tent faced that eventually led to the scene above. He “pitched his tent toward Sodom” (Genesis 13:12). Within his line of vision were the enticements of this city whose inhabitants the Bible describes as exceedingly wicked.

How long did it take before Lot moved from his tent into the city itself? Why did he continue to live in a place where the sinfulness of those around him “vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds” (II Peter 2:8)? Did he consider the effect it might have upon his wife and family? Only two of his children escaped Sodom; the others remained behind and were destroyed with the city’s inhabitants (Genesis 19:12-14).

Lot’s wife did not leave Sodom willingly. She, her husband, and two unmarried daughters were literally dragged from the city before the impending judgment could swallow them. What thoughts swirled through her mind that morning as they ran? What compelled her to look back? Did she lack a personal commitment to God? Did the sinful lifestyle of Sodom beckon her? Was it possessions—all the trappings of a rich and comfortable life—that pulled on her? Or could it have been thoughts of her social position and influential friends? What regrets were a stronger pull than her own salvation?

Have you ever noticed someone walking, or even driving while looking over their shoulder to talk? Forward progress becomes erratic and even unsafe when looking back. The walker may trip or bump into things. The driver may drift into the path of another vehicle, causing serious damage or injury. Proverbs 4:25-27 advises: “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. . .ponder the path of thy feet. . .turn not to the right hand nor to the left.”

To look back is dangerous.

After starting our walk with the Lord, what things entice us to look back? Do material possession tugs at us? Do unhealthy or sinful relationships pull us back? Do we lack conviction and commitment to a godly lifestyle? Perhaps we never intend to actually return to the thing we left behind, but with that backward glance it beckons us.

For if after they have escaped the filthy things of the world through the rich knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they again get entangled in them and succumb to them, their last state has become worse for them than their first. (II Peter 2:20, NET)

Jesus knew firsthand that not everyone would always follow Him. It happened during His earthly ministry, and it happens still today. “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66). They became offended at Him, allowing something behind them to hold a stronger attraction. They disqualified themselves for kingdom service because, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9: 62).

Our salvation depends upon where we look. Don’t look back!
(Info from: UPCI Ladies Ministries ladiesconnections@upci.org)


“The Danger of Minimum Requirements” by Angela Overton.
beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)

The Titanic was designed by some of the most experienced engineers and used some of the most advanced technologies available at the time. It was a great shock to many that, despite the extensive safety features, the Titanic sank.

At the design stage, it was suggested that Titanic use a new, larger type of davit, which is used to lower things over an edge of a long drop off such as launching a lifeboat over the side of a ship (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davit). Sixteen sets of davits were installed, giving Titanic the ability to carry 64 wooden lifeboats—which would accommodate over 4,000 people, more than Titanic’s total capacity.

However, the White Star Line, while agreeing to the new davits, decided that only sixteen wooden lifeboats would be installed (sixteen being the minimum requirement by the Board of Trade. (https://www.britannica.com/topic/Titanic)

A FEW FACTS ABOUT THE TITANIC

The ship could carry a total of 3,547 passengers and crew; and when it set sail on her maiden voyage, there were 2,227 people on board.
The high casualty rate when the ship sank was due in part to the fact that, although complying with the regulations of the time, the ship carried lifeboats for only 1,178 people. This was only enough for thirty-three percent of Titanic’s total capacity.

If there had been enough lifeboats on the Titanic, then there would have never been as many casualties. One thousand more could have survived. They chose the minimum requirement because it was aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

The Titanic didn’t break any laws. The owners complied with the regulations that were expected of them. The owners were within the minimum requirement range. They thought they could get by with the minimum. They didn’t realize the dangers of minimum requirements.

Despite the luxurious tapestries, the gold-plated embellishments, the crystal, the silver, etc., the Titanic was lacking in a crucial area. The lack of lifeboats cost thousands their lives. They thought it could never sink because there was no boat like it in the world. Then, the unimaginable happened; an iceberg came out of nowhere.

When I was a youth pastor, I was asked, “Where’s the line? What things can I get away with and still make it to heaven?” They were looking for a minimum requirement salvation.

In our lives, we may look the part, act the part, and say all the right things; but an iceberg will be put in our path. The outcome of facing this iceberg will depend on what kind of relationship you have with God.

Have you been living with the minimum requirements?

Today, let’s ask God:

How can I draw closer to You?
How can I prepare myself for heaven?
How much of Jesus do I want?
How much of myself am I willing to give?

Let’s live beyond the minimum requirement today. Let’s go deeper in God together.
(Info from: UPCI Ladies Ministries ladiesconnections@upci.org)


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