How do we learn to have faith? Is it acquired through osmosis by being part of a Christian family? Is it something that grows over time? How do we grow in faith? More importantly, how do we instill our faith in God, in our children and other family members?
Today I would like to talk about three things: surrendering control, obedience, and submission. When we ignore God in the day to day matters of our lives, we are effectively saying to Him, “No, I can do this without Your input.” We don’t want to release full control of our lives to Him. We may hear what He wants us to do, but we don’t obey Him. Without obedience to God, we are ignoring His will. Without submitting to His will, we miss out on the blessings He had planned for us. These three things: surrendering control, obedience and submission, must be present in the life of every believer. Yet, for some reason, that word “submit” seems to rub people the wrong way.
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit (Isaiah 14:12-15, KJV).
Have you ever wondered why in the middle of a taunt about the King of Babylon, a rant about Satan (aka Lucifer) was suddenly there? I did. Mainly, when in other translations, it reads "star of the morning" or "morning star" (rather than Lucifer). I started to wonder about it while writing my book He Who Has an Ear, Who the Seven Churches of Revelation are Today.
You might think that's a strange thing to think about when writing a book on the seven churches of Revelation. But not really. Not when you come across this verse in Revelation:
He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star (Revelation 2:26-28, NASB, emphasis mine).
Here's how my brain works - right away, I see "the morning star" and think about Satan because he was called that in Isaiah 14:12, and I ask the question, "Why would Jesus give us Satan? That doesn't make sense!" So, of course, I did a word search and then a little more searching, and the following is what I found out. This is an excerpt from my book He Who Has an Ear.
Prayer, if you haven't discovered it, can move mountains. When God answers our prayers, we stand in awe and shout to the world, "Look what God did!" Giving Him all the glory. It's only right we should do that. After all, He is God. But sometimes, God doesn't answer prayers, and we wait, and we wait, and we wait some more, and during the time we are waiting for an answer, two things are happening. God is working behind the scenes, and Satan is working overtime, putting doubt and anger into our hearts and minds because we aren't getting our prayers answered.
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah who enter in at these gates to worship the Lord!’” Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these.’ (Jeremiah 7:1-4)
In Jeremiah chapter seven, the Lord told Jeremiah to stand outside the gates of the temple. He then told him to proclaim His words to the people that were going into the temple. God was very angry with these worshippers. They had become so degenerate they were chasing after false gods. They were also stealing, murdering, committing adultery and even burning their children as sacrifices to false gods. Yet, on the Sabbath, they showed up to the temple to worship God, BELIEVING that all was forgiven because THEY WERE GOD'S CHOSEN PEOPLE. And God told them (and I'm paraphrasing here): "You think that is going to save you from my wrath? You think by walking through these doors on the Sabbath, you are automatically forgiven of all your sins, cleansed, and made new just because you're here? I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to this place which I gave to you and your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh!" (Jeremiah 7:9-15)