Tag Archives: faith

Without faith we cannot please God. And faith comes from God: we cannot conjure it up.

The Bike Ride: Pictures of discipleship

The Lord has shown me a picture of a bicycle on a number of occasions; the last one being three days ago. I’ve been thinking about the relevance of the idea of riding a bicycle to our walk as disciples, and the more I have considered it the more aspects I have seen. I am going to try and draw the threads together here over a few posts, because I believe that the Holy Spirit will quicken specific aspects of them  to different individuals. As you read it ask Him to speak to you.

Keep Moving

You can’t sit still on a bicycle: if you do you will fall off. We are encouraged to “press on toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14). Our faith is dynamic, not static. The Holy Spirit moves, and He wants us to move with Him. Now more than ever God is uprooting and tearing down old strongholds and old ways in the world and in the Church, because He is clearing the ground to build His Kingdom. Ephesians 5:16 encourages us to “redeem the time, because the days are evil.” We don’t achieve this by being static, but by engaging with God’s purpose for us, like the chain engages with the cogs to move the cycle forward as we put our weight on the pedal.  There are times when we doubt this purpose, and so we stop moving. The next thing we know, the faith that was so solid yesterday feels like quicksand today. But the doubt that floored us did not actually arise because the truth of what we believe is in any way questionable, but because the evil one chose that moment to send a fiery dart into our heart. We need to remember and believe the words that God has spoken to us in the past, because the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (Romans 11:29). If we just get on our bikes and start cycling again in these “quicksand moments,” despite the cloud that has descended, we will find that the path becomes solid again and the way clear once more. The shield of faith will extinguish the fiery dart.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Cor 15:58)

We are seated

Even though we are moving, we are seated – in Heavenly places with Christ Jesus. Because we are seated, we are at rest – even though we are moving. Jesus tells us that if we take His yoke upon us, we will find rest for our souls. If we have lost our rest and our peace has left us, the chances are that we have left our seats as well. All authority proceeds from His throne, and we are partakers of that authority. He has given us His name, and He has given us His peace. If we can just remember that we are seated with Him in heavenly places (Eph 2:6), anxiety, impatience, stress and many other negative states of mind have nowhere to settle.

(He) raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (Eph 2:6)

Stay focussed

On a bicycle one has to stay focussed and concentrate on the task of staying on the road. If we have a lot of interests and responsibilities it is easy to get distracted, and the next thing we know we are, spiritually, lying on the ground along with our bicycle, and no longer wanting to cycle. But this doesn’t mean that we shirk our responsibilities or (as long as they are healthy ones!) give up our interests: God has put us where we are, and in addition He is the creator and sustainer of all things, therefore there is not a moment when we cannot find Him, and nothing in which we cannot serve and worship Him. The secret to staying on our bikes is in Proverbs 3 vs 6: to actually seek and acknowledge Him in everything we do. If we share everything with Him, as the friend that we are cycling with,  He will direct our paths, according to the rest of Proverbs 3:6. And if God is directing our paths we are not going to fall off our bikes.

In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct  your paths.
(Prov 3:6)

Next time: uphill, downhill.

The Faith of Ezra

“I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying, “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him. So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer.” (Ezra 8: 22-23)

Ezra and a remnant of the Israelites had been released from captivity by Ataxerxes, the King of Persia, to go and worship the Lord in the temple that had been rebuilt during the reign of Darius. Before they set out on their perilous journey, Ezra had gathered them at the river to fast and pray. However they weren’t going empty-handed: in the care of the priests and Levites was “six hundred and fifty talents of silver, silver articles weighing one hundred talents, one hundred talents of gold, twenty gold basins worth a thousand drachmas, and two vessels of fine polished bronze, precious as gold.” One talent weighed roughly 50kg; about the weight of one adult. So along with the men, women and children were another 100 people in solid gold, and 750 more people in solid silver, plus the other precious objects, presumably transported by donkey or ox-cart, all on a journey of around 2000 kilometres.

Ezra was a priest and a scribe. He knew the word of God. And not only did he know the Word, but he believed it without compromise, trusting God and not the armies of men for protection for all those people in his care, and all the wealth that they were carrying on this long and perilous journey. He believed what he declared, and walked in it. But also he didn’t walk in presumption, but under his leadership they prayed earnestly, they humbled themselves, and they fasted; and “the gracious hand of God was upon them” to deliver them safely to Jerusalem.

For us, as we journey on the road towards Jerusalem – the New One – how much of the word of God do we believe and walk in? At the time of writing we live in a climate of virus-induced fear, exaggerated by the negative words of headline-hunting media, reinforced by the sinister image of the face mask that robs the wearer of his or her smile, and by the deprivation of warm human contact through social distancing measures. As believers we are certain that God is at work through all this, because Romans 8: 28 tells us that “all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” However the fact remains that the virus and its ravages are the work of “the enemy on the road.” Yes, we have to comply with the law and its anti-virus measures, because the Bible tells us that as well. But do we give into the enemy of fear when we put the mask over our smile or imprison ourselves in our “social bubbles,” or do we believe that “God is my protection” and “No plague shall come near my dwelling?”

Our response to the enemy of fear in the context of coronavirus is just one aspect of many ways in which we can be selective in our faith. For example, the Bible is clear in both the old and new testaments that God detests same-sex relationships (For example. Leviticus 18:22, and 20:13; Romans : 24-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10.) Do we ignore that part of the word because it’s uncomfortable and hard to swallow, like a chewy bit of gristle that we leave on the side of the plate? There are no details given, but it isn’t hard to guess what some of the “detestable practices” of the surrounding pagan nations were that the Israelites, and many of their kings, found so attractive and which led to their downfall. A liberal gospel is not the gospel of Salvation. The narrow gate is like the restrictors found now at the top of airport and underground escalators: we can’t take all our baggage through, no matter how much we might want it with us.

Healing, deliverance, the critical importance of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, God’s promises of provision in times of hardship – how often is this food left on the side of the plate? Demons are another bit of gristle. They are a very real part of the unseen realm, but it is so easy leave them to carry on their activities instead of learning how to deal with them effectively.  And what does the Word tell us about division, backbiting and criticism, for example – what we might call the sins of the tongue rather than the sins of the flesh. Do we leave that as well? Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He gave Himself totally for our salvation. He is also the Living Word, and He is alive in us. If we want all that He has to give us, we need all of Him, not just the tasty bits, and we need to give ourselves totally to Him. We need the faith of Ezra in every aspect of our lives.

Ask, and it shall be given.

At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?” (1 Kings 3:5)

We all know how Solomon responded to this. Even if you have never read any of the Bible you will have heard of the wisdom of that God gave to Solomon because it is what he asked for, and you will have heard of the great wealth and power that God also gave him because he didn’t ask for them. I sometimes used to wish that God would appear to me like that, and I would think about what my answer would be if He did, and all the amazing things He would give me that I hadn’t asked for. Have you?

The point is: God has said the same thing to us. Jesus said “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened… If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him” (Matt 7:7-8, 11)

Luke renders this slightly differently. He says (Luke 11:13)”… how much more will your Father who is in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him”

Paul writes (Romans 8:32) “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

This is not God appearing to us in a dream in a specific time and place; these are words that are written in Heaven for every child of God for all time, for us to appropriate by faith and make our own. The only question is: what is God exhorting us to ask for? Is it “good things,” “all things,” or “the Holy Spirit?” We need to know what to ask for.

I understand it like this. “Good things” have to be God’s things. Since Jesus said that only God is good (Luke 18:19), this has to mean that Jesus would not call anything “good” that does not come from Heaven, where God dwells. Everything that is good exists in the realm of the Spirit. As James 1:17 tells us: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights.” Whatever we receive from the Father of lights comes to us through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, so when the Bible says that God will “Give the Holy Spirit” to those who come to the Father with requests, I think it simply means something like: “the entire storehouse of Heaven is available through Him; what exactly are you looking for?”

Scripture shows that there is no doubt that Jesus wants us to ask for “good gifts” from the Father:

Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. (Matt 18:19)

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Matt 21:22)

 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24)

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13)

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7)

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” (John 15:16)

and whatever we ask we receive from him, becausewe keep his commandmentsand do what pleases him.” (1 John 3:22)

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” (1 John 5: 14-15)

There are clearly some conditions; nevertheless that is a lot of encouragement to ask! God is emphatic about it. When we pray in the name of Jesus and our prayers are answered, “the Father is glorified in the Son.” Jesus tells us that it is “The Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom.”  (Luke 12:32) Our call as disciples is to carry on the work of the Master and see His kingdom come. We can’t build the Kingdom of God for Jesus: He has to do it Himself, by His Spirit; and He won’t do it unless we ask Him. He appointed us to bear fruit by asking the Father to give us the Kingdom. In the Spirit it is all ours already, as we are seated in heavenly places with Jesus the King. But on Earth we need to pray it into being: every time a prayer is answered we bear lasting fruit, the Father and the Son are glorified, and that is another bit of the Kingdom that has come on Earth as it is in Heaven.

So what are the conditions? Really, they can be summed up in two statements: we have to ask in faith, actually believing that we have received what we have asked for; and we have to be walking in His will. If there is sin or disobedience in our lives the heavens will be brass. If God has told you to do something, do it. You’ll just be walking through cobwebs in your spiritual life until you do. James also gives us a useful clue: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. (James 4: 3) If our motivation is worldly or carnal, we are wasting our time. Such things do not come into the domain of “good gifts,” however good we may think they are.

What if we feel that we have fulfilled the conditions, we are praying in the Spirit and not in the flesh, we are seeking God’s kingdom and not the fulfilment of our own desires, and we are still not seeing answers? There may be reasons, often to do with the timing of other situations in the bigger picture, that only God knows about; but there is one common one that we can do something about ourselves, and it’s this: we are giving up too easily, and are not being fervent enough. We have to remember that we are in a battle. There is opposition. Daniel waited 21 days for the answers he was seeking while a battle with the demon prince of Persia was being played out in the spirit realm. Maybe we need to fast. Maybe we’re just not on our knees for long enough. Maybe we should actually try getting onto our knees instead of praying on the sofa. Maybe we just need to ask God what the problem is. But as Smith Wigglesworth put it, the fact is that God wants to answer far more that we want to ask.

When Jesus posed the unsettling question “Will the Son of Man find faith on the earth when He returns?” (Luke 18:8) it is preceded by the story of the unjust judge and the persistent widow. It would seem that faith, in this context, is knowing that God will eventually answer if we just keep banging on the door. The tense of the verbs in the “Ask, seek and knock” verse is the present continuous: ask and keep on asking; seek and keep on seeking; knock and keep on knocking. . When Bible teacher Andrew Wommack held prayer meetings at the start of his ministry they used to keep praying, sometimes through the night and often doing battle with the enemy, until they saw breakthrough; because they believed that God had the “good and perfect gift” for them. It’s the fervent effective prayer of a righteous man that avails much. (James 5:16).

A final point. David just asked for one thing:

One thing I have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple. (Psalm 27:4)

I think Jesus may have been alluding to this when He said (Luke 10:42) “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Jesus made it clear throughout His teachings that if we seek first the Kingdom of God, “all these things” – the things that “the pagans” ask for, from the world and the flesh – will be given to us. If we give to others, God will give to us. Whatever we “forsake” on earth for the Kingdom’s sake will be given back to us, multiplied a hundredfold. (With persecutions!) This is not to say that God doesn’t care about our material needs. He does, and we can remind Him of His promise that “God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. …” (Phil 4:19). In fact we are explicitly taught to ask for our daily bread, and not just to assume it will be on the table. By asking for it, we are recognising that everything we have comes from Him: it’s an acknowledgement of His provision, and as such can even be considered part of our worship.

To put all this together, I suggest the following:

1) Like David, we hunger above all for God’s presence. Apart from anything else, this is the only place where real faith is stirred.

2) We recognise that God is our provider, we trust Him to supply our needs and we remind Him of His promises over our lives. I put this before the next point because it means what we can take our personal “stuff” to the cross and leave it there, while we get on with the business of number 3 below.

3) We get on our knees, physically or metaphorically, and realise that God is saying the same to us as He said to Solomon all those years ago.

So what are we asking for? Is it a good and perfect gift that will increase the Kingdom of God on the earth? Do we really believe it is there for us? Are we in a right place with God, or does something need dealing with so that we ourselves are walking in His Kingdom ways? Is our priority, above all else, to know the presence of God? If the answer to all of these is yes, then we keep asking until it “comes down from the Father of lights.” And if it’s taking its time, that may simply be because we are in a battle, and we need to “endure to the end.”

God is saying to us all, “Ask! What shall I give you?” And we aren’t dreaming.

How Deep are your Roots?

How deep are your roots? Are you ready?

I saw the trees shaking violently in the wind. Although the leaves were staying on the trees, dead branches big and small were crashing to the ground, reminding me of the hurricane we had in the south east in 1987 where even huge  ancient trees were were felled by the storm. I felt the Lord say several  things through this.

Firstly: how deep are your roots in My word and spirit? Have you got the spiritual agility to sway, or are you rigid? Are you ready for the great shaking?

Secondly: I’m not only overturning old Christian rituals so my people are flexible, but I am also starting to overturn ancient ways of the world. This is the beginning of the great shaking spoken of in  Luke 15 v 5.
Jesus is asking: “Are you truly grafted into me?”

I was then reminded of an article I read about the coronavirus. Surviving the virus is only the beginning as it can damage your lungs for life.  I believe the Lord was showing me that in the future the NHS will be over-run, so people will start to turn to the Lord asking for healing. That will be our opportunity to grab the bull by the horns and reveal God’s glory, As things are being shaken by the Lord, more and more people will be asking questions and wanting answers .

The Lord is saying: “Are your roots in me deep enough to withstand the shaking I’m doing? Are you firmly grafted into me? Are you ready?

Jacob Dominy

Going against the Flow

Which direction are we facing?

I was at a retail park recently: it was first thing in the morning so there were hardly any cars around, and I felt the Holy Spirit start to speak to me through the arrows that designate the one way system.

Very often we are called to move in the opposite direction to the world. Jesus tells us (Matt 7:14) that the way that leads to life is narrow, and not many find it; whereas the road to destruction is a broad one and many travel along it. Just to move along the path to Life runs contrary to nature: by believing in Jesus we set our faces squarely against the one-way system that leads to death.

Most of Jesus’s teaching turned accepted values and practices on their heads. We bless those who curse us. If we give, it will be given unto us. The value of the greatest riches in the world cannot compare with the pearl of the Kingdom of God. The path of faith in Jesus calls us to turn our backs on our previous direction of travel, and we have a word for this: repentance. By definition, a Christian is someone who has turned round and is heading towards the Kingdom of God and its promise of eternal life instead of the realm of sin and inevitable death.

The New Testament is clear that we are to obey the laws of the land that we live in, so there is a set of arrows that we are all required to follow. Romans 13: 1 makes this clear: “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” There is another set of arrows too, a set that was literally set in stone when it was first given, and that is the set of instructions given to us by God in the Bible. These are basic principles of Christian living, and they are arrows that we follow.

But having accepted that we are now facing in the “wrong direction” according to the one-way system of sin, how often do we still accept the arrows that are painted on its roads? Who put them there? Who said, for example, that a terminal cancer diagnosis is a one-way street? God didn’t. Jesus healed all who came to Him, and multiple thousands have been healed through faith in His name since He walked the streets of Galilee. We don’t understand why it is that so often the arrow of sickness still takes our lives, and the lives of our friends and loved ones, down a shortened and unexpected cul-de-sac; but we can start by believing that God didn’t put it there, and at least we can do what James 4:7 says, which is to “resist the devil.”

Jesus said: “The thief (that is, the devil) does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) One of David’s noted victories is recorded in 2 Sam 5:22. In this instance, the “thief” is represented by Philistine raiding parties in the Valley of Rephaim. The Rephaim were one of the tribes of giants that scared the Israelites out of the promised land when they were first delivered from slavery. Sometimes the devil will attack us just out of hatred and malice, but sometimes he sends his raiding parties into places where “giants” still cast a shadow over our lives. Before he went into battle, David “inquired of the LORD” for his battle plan. We cannot receive the abundant life that Jesus offers unless we ask Him for His direction.

“Then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. Therefore David inquired of the LORD, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the LORD will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” (2 Sam 5: 22-24)

Sometimes the arrow of God’s direction is unusual and unexpected. To see it, we first have to resist the devil, and then we have to prepared to look. To look, we have to believe that it is there strongly enough to “ask, seek and knock” until we see it. And if we are being raided, we also need to ensure that we don’t have any valleys of giants where the thief is welcome. Current sin or past occult practice are common “Rephaim” today. Faith is “the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1), whereas Proverbs 14: 12 says “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” So let us not accept the arrows of seeming inevitability that let the thief have his way, but let’s remember which direction we are supposed to be facing and go against the flow. If we look hard enough we might see a signpost pointing to the front of the mulberry trees.

Effective Fervent Prayer

There are a number if situations at Wildwood that we are praying for at the moment. James 5:16 tells us that “the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much”. Whatever and whoever we are praying for, we want our prayers to “avail much,” so if we want to see our prayers answered we can do worse than take on board what the apostle is saying in this verse.

What is effective in us is the Word of God (1 Thess 2:13). God has magnified His word above His name (Psalm 138:2). This can be interpreted on many levels (just look up a few sermons on google!), but a literal understanding is always a good place to start. Without exploring any other possible implications, Psalm 138:2 tells us that praying in the name of Jesus is obviously good, but praying the Word of God in the name of Jesus is even better.

Any word of God? No. Any relevant word of God? Maybe sometimes. The specific word of God that is given to us by the Holy Spirit as we are praying? Yes. We don’t know how to pray, but the Holy Spirit helps us. (Romans 8:26) The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit, as we know from Ephesians 6. It’s the sword that belongs to the Spirit, and He is the one who knows best how to wield it. This word is “living and active” (Heb 4:12), so it isn’t going to be the same every time. If we take the word that He gives us, and not just the one that we think fits the occasion, we can expect it to be effective.

Fervent is passionate, burning with God’s love. We can’t be passionate if we just repeat a formula. We can’t be passionate if we pray just because we feel we ought to. When the Israelites cried out to God in the Old Testament, He often said, usually through one of His prophets, “I have seen your tears,” or “I have seen how you have humbled yourself.” I believe God wants to see us emotionally engaged with Him over the people we are praying for, and above all to seek His love for them. The Shunammite woman had to make a journey to seek the man of God (Elisha) for her son, and sometimes we have to make a journey as well before we have truly taken hold of Jesus and cried out to Him to see a need met.

So if want our prayers to avail much, they have to be guided by the Holy Spirit, rich in the word of God, and inflamed with His passion. Jesus prayed differently for every situation he was in: He put mud on eyes, stuck His fingers in ears, told people to get up on their feet and told demons to leave. He was the living active Word Himself, He was guided supernaturally by the Holy Spirit, and was always demonstrating the love of the Father. If we can learn to do this too,  I think we will start to see some significant results.

Bob Hext

Let not your heart be troubled…

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1)

Judas had just slunk out of the room to betray Jesus; their lord and master had just washed their feet; the disciples had just received the new commandment to love one another as He had loved them; having followed Him for three years they were told that they could now not go where He was going; and faithful, passionate Peter had just found out that he was about to deny knowing Jesus three times. Against this tumultuous setting Jesus tells them: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”

If our hearts are troubled our faith is hindered. If we focus on Jesus we can find a path through our troubles, but if we focus on our troubles Jesus becomes remote. In 2 Kings 4: 19-37 we find the story of Elisha and the Shunammite woman. The son that had been born to her according to Elisha’s word had died. This was her only son, the vessel of all her hopes for the continuation of her family. Her heart had every cause to be troubled. But this is what we read is vs 21:

“And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out.”

She shut the door on him. Do we shut the door on our troubles, or do we let them invade our hearts? The Shunammite woman had one thing on her mind now, which was to run to the man of God:

“Then she called to her husband, and said, “Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back.”

Shut the door on your troubles; run to the man of God. Let not your heart be troubled; believe in Jesus. Keeping that door closed is an act of the will, because troubles can come knocking very loudly. The woman’s husband said: “”Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath.” And she said, “It is well.” Do we open the door by lamenting our difficulties, or do we saddle the donkey and run to Jesus, declaring with the hymn writer that “it is well, it is well, with my soul?”

“Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.
There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.” (Psalm 46 2-5)

Elisha saw her coming from where he was on Mount Carmel, and sent Gehazi, his assistant, to her. “Please run now to meet her, and say to her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’ ” And she answered, “It is well.” She still refused to let her heart be troubled. Only when she had physically taken hold of Elisha’s feet did she speak of the death of her son. If we would only speak of our troubles when we are safely in the presence of the One who can either take them away or help us bear them, how much stronger our faith would be!

Elisha sent Gehazi ahead to lay his staff on the boy’s face, but the woman was adamant:  “As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” (vs. 30) Her trust was in the Man of God: not in his staff, not in his assistant. We need the presence of the Lord in our own lives, not just in the life of someone with a staff of ministry. She shut the door on her troubles, ran to Jesus (Elisha), took hold of him and stayed with Him until her child was restored to life. Not only did she believe, but she persevered in her faith. The writer to the Hebrews says:

”And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Heb 6: 11-12)

I think many of us are quick enough to run to Jesus, but instead of shutting the door on our problems we put them on the donkey and take them with us, telling everyone about them on the way. Instead of persevering in our faith and seeking Jesus, we persevere in our problems and He stays remote. Of course we pray. We are exhorted to pray at all times. (Eph. 6:18). When David was in the cave hiding from Saul, he wrote:

“I cry out to the LORD with my voice;
With my voice to the LORD I make my supplication.
I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare before Him my trouble.
When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
Then You knew my path.” (Psalm 142: 1-3)

God knew David’s path, and David knew that. But David always trusted God for His divine plan; he didn’t ask God to bless his own agenda. He didn’t carry it around on a donkey and ask God to bring it to life. When the Shunammite woman shut the door on her son she shut the door on the hopes and aspirations she had for his life. What she didn’t know was that a 7-year famine was coming to Israel; that God, through Elisha, was going to send her and her son away to live among the Philistines for that time so that they wouldn’t suffer; that Gehazi was going to tell her story to the King; and that when she came back she was going to have all her fortunes restored, including the value of any crops that were harvested during her absence. (2 Kings 8). God can always “do infinitely more than all we can ask or imagine. ” (Eh 3:20) Believing in Jesus means not letting our hearts be troubled by anxiety over our own agendas, but trusting Him to know our paths and fulfil His purposes, His way.

Many of us have “dead sons:” words that have been spoken into our lives that seem light years from being fulfilled. Many times we may have put them on the donkey and carried them to the Man of God, or gone for prayer and had the staff of someone’s ministry laid on their face, but life has not come. But Jesus says: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” He doesn’t want us just to believe that God is able to answer our prayers:  He wants us to shut the door on what has died and run after His presence, so that He can personally come and revive them Himself.