“You Gotta Have Faith”

(1 Kings 17: 10-15)  When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”

12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” 13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’” 15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.


Choosing to obey when it’s difficult is putting your faith into action.  I’ve always wondered why the widow in this account chose to believe what Elijah was telling her… promises that must have seemed lofty and somewhat sketchy at best.  But she did it.  I wonder, did she give up the last of her food because of the strength of her faith, or was it more of a gamble at seeing if this God would be true to His promises?  Maybe she said to herself, “It’s our last meal anyway.  We are going to starve either way, so I may as well feed this fellow too.”  However, it is also possible that something within her organically and innately just believed.

In our own lives, our faith often mirrors this widow…on both ends of the spectrum.  Sometimes our faith is strong and we jump right off of the cliff, KNOWING that we’ll be cushioned and held.  Yet at other times, it really is just a gamble.  We want to believe, but circumstance has brought us to a place of insecurity and doubt…yet off we go, over the edge, because we have nothing left to lose. 

Whether you act out of excitement or because of desperation, it’s all faith.  The faith is there, because movement and action…obedience…they require faith.  So don’t worry that when you jumped you were desperate or afraid, questioning even.  YOU JUMPED.  That’s what matters.  Moving forward in obedience…that’s faith.  When you’re still just standing there on the edge, questioning…pondering…trying to figure it all out…deciding…that’s when you should be worried about the measure of your faith.  Big faith isn’t always believing for the miraculous.  Sometimes big faith is making the sacrifices that are necessary.  Big faith is active.  So even when it hurts, move.  Even when you’re afraid, just jump.  Step over the edge and revel in the freedom that comes when you just obey.


Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I recognize that weakness comes from being sedentary.  Give me faith to continue on, no matter the sacrifice, regardless of how I feel.  My strength comes from You alone, and I am made stronger in my faith by moving forward at all times.  I trust You, Lord, in all things.  Amen.

“Let faith rise up. Oh heart, believe.”

(James 4: 2-3, NLT) …Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. 

Recently, some dear friends of mine received some amazing news — a blessing that is a direct answer to prayers, and an open door that only God could make happen.  I am so overjoyed for my friends, and I can’t help but reflect on who they are in Christ — faithful, humble, kind, generous, selfless, and supportive.  I can’t think of a couple that bears more evidence of spiritual growth and maturity, so it makes total sense to see them reaping the harvest of the seeds that they have sown. 

We all have desires and goals.  We all have those things that we pray over, and I think many of us are looking around for open doors — for answers.  I know that in my own life, I have asked God “why” and “when” a million times when it comes to the desires of my heart.  His response:  Why?  When?  He turns it right back around to me, because it truly is about motives. 

For the longest time, I thought what I needed was another child.  This was a time in my life where I walked through real darkness — truly the valley of the shadow of death.  I felt utterly helpless and very, very alone.  People around me — my peers, unmarried people much younger than myself, and even my fellow “infertile Myrtles” — were all getting pregnant like it was an epidemic to which I was somehow, heartbreakingly, immune.  Talk about disheartening.  So I, of course, began to question God.  I put Him on trial and I badgered Him like an angry lawyer!  God, WHY can’t I have another baby?  WHEN are You going to answer MY prayers?  I’m faithful!  I demand answers! Only to be met with total silence…

So I quit asking God for anything.  Oh, I prayed, but I left my requests in the recesses of my heart.  I had resolved that God was arbitrary and supplications just don’t matter.  He’s gonna do what He’s gonna do anyway, right?  That was the way I felt!  I thought God was being silent because I was somehow undeserving of an answered prayer, but it was during this time that I came across the above verse in James 4, “And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.”  Well, there was my answer folks.  I was humbled in that moment.  I realized that God’s plan for me is not always what I think I want.  It’s not about me!  I had been selfish.  I asked myself, “Why do I want another baby?  When have I truly set myself aside and given my all — my focus, my heart, my ability — over to the will of God?” 

Maybe you have been asking God for something, to no avail.  Maybe you’re like I was and feeling defeated and alone.  Please know this — YOU ARE NOT AT WAR WITH GOD!  If you feel defeated, it isn’t because God is keeping you under His thumb.  Don’t you for one moment believe that lie.  He loves you, and He has something beautiful and perfect planned out for your life.  It may not match what you have dreamed up in your human and imperfect heart, but when you let go of that stuff, when you relinquish the control to God, when you set your heart on being faithful to His commandments and precepts, He will begin to open those doors so wide that there will be no mistaking that it is Him and only Him! 

It’s funny how, in retrospect, things almost always make sense.  This past summer, it became evident to me that a former student of mine (a 9 year old little boy) needed a stable home and a family to raise him and provide for him.  Now, I work in public education in an inner-city elementary school, so I do see this a lot, but this time I felt that unmistakable pull that only comes from God.  This child would not get out of my thoughts and God would not leave me alone.  The door had opened, folks.  It all made sense.  We brought this child into our home, and we haven’t looked back, not even once.  All of my questions have been answered.  I asked God why — because…if I had another child of my own I would never have been receptive to opening our home to this little boy.  I asked God when — when everyone was ready. 

Like my friends, who stayed the course, whose focus was always on serving God and growing in Him — and like my own situation — when we are able to shift the focus from self to serving, when our motives are pure and selfless, that’s when things start to happen.  The doors begin to open, and we have but to walk on through them.  Sometimes we have to endure blind faith, but God is never going to leave us behind.  He’s carrying you.  I promise.  Keep your heart steady and pure.  He’ll do the rest.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I thank you that even in my doubt and hurt, when I could not see past my tears and frustration, You were there waiting and ready to meet me with every answer.  Help me to never forget what I have learned through the darkest times of my life, and help me to continue to walk in that wisdom.  Amen.

One Word

(Matthew 21:21-22 ESV) “Assuredly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea’, it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”


Not long ago the Lord spoke to me about the power of words. It’s amazing how one word can change our perception. As I was praying, I spoke what I meant to be a declaration of faith. I said, “Lord, You have never failed me yet.” Almost immediately, I sensed the Holy Spirit inquire, “Yet? At what point are you expecting me to fail you?”

 I realized that one word changed the focus of my declaration. ONE WORD!

If I pray, “God, You have never failed me.” I acknowledge the faithfulness of God. I declare that God is not capable of failure, and I’m expressing confidence in His desire to bless me in all things, in every way, at all times! In other words, I am Expecting The Best at all times.

However, if I say, “You have never failed me yet,” I’m leaving the door open to doubt. I’m leaving open the possibility that God could fail me in the future. Even though it has not been His track record with me; though He has come through every time…without fail. By adding that one word“yet”…I am making an inaccurate declaration that changes my expectation from faith to doubt.

Let’s be clear. I may fail. I may fall short. I may face consequences that accompany MY poor decisions. But, God…FAIL? Never!

So, today I’m determined to speak of God’s faithfulness. I will add to my faith by subtracting any words that invite doubt.


PRAYER: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14 ESV)