Daily Devotional – 11/28/17 “Work your faith!”

How dare you say, out of your mouth, that God isn’t answering your prayers when you’ve yet to work your faith. God told you to trust Him to make your ends meet but then the enemy showed up and you got that check advance anyway. Now, you’re crying because you forgot about it and it hit your account and it’s overdrawn. You got the audacity to part your lips and move your tongue to form a sound of doubt, to the power of God, when you’re still sitting in the place He told you to depart from months ago? You laugh at anybody who testifies on the goodness of a God who uses us in spite of our flaws because “you” say He didn’t come to your rescue when you were lost. But have you stopped to think, maybe you missed it because you weren’t in tune to hear His voice? Beloved, God does what God does but what are you doing? Some years ago, I was in a place of frustration and anger because I could not figure out why things kept happening to us. Why can I not get my head above water? I’m going to church every Sunday with my bible and notepad and it’s filled with what pastor said but I’m still suffering. I’m working with the youth and showing up when needed but I’m still in a desolate place.

Then it donned on me, my faithfulness was good but there was no work being done. Yeah, I looked busy to the person on the outside looking in, but my work was dead. Yes, I was showing up for service but I didn’t have a sacrifice. I was devoted to the church but there was no devotion to God. I was a faithful worker but not a fruitful worshipper. My faith was without works. Oh but now, when God tells me to trust Him, I do while working my faith. Even when I cannot see how this little is going to last until payday, I work my faith. When it seems like I will not get well, I work my faith. When it feels like everybody is against me, I work my faith. When the enemy is knocking on my door, I work my faith. When trouble shows up, I work my faith. How? By standing still (that’s not trying to fix it) and trusting God. By getting up, getting dressed and walking with my head held high when all I want to do is crawl into the nearest dark hole. By wearing my $5 dress and $7 shoes, acting as if I got millions in the bank. By acting like royalty while still shopping at the Dollar Tree and Goodwill. Why? Because I am working my faith. What are you doing? “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:26

Daily Devotional – 5/8/12 “You’ve prayed and you have faith, now what?”

You’ve been down on your knees all night praying for God to come and see about you then you got off your knees with the faith that he could do whatever it is you asked him for but what else did you do? You do know that in order for God to help you, you’ve got to also help yourself, right? How can God help you pay your bills if you have no money towards them? Yea, saying you got faith that God will come through is great but he won’t produce a money tree in your backyard because you have to have something in order for him to increase it. How can he bless you with a job and you haven’t filed out any applications? I know that God knows your talents but these companies who are hiring don’t. You’ve got to put in a little work. It’s like you praying for God to bless you with a new car, yet you haven’t been to one car lot. Yes, God gives us blessings and some of the things we pray for but we have to also work because these things don’t magically appear. Didn’t you read the scripture in James 2:26 that say “Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works?” Then stop with the woe is me syndrome and do something. Yes, you’ve prayed and you even have faith but now what?

You’ve been fasting for 2 days because you want God to take away the sin that you’ve allowed to bound you but I’ve said it before, God can’t take anything that doesn’t belong to him because that would make him a thief. If you have sin inside of you, give it to God and then he can help you get over it. Don’t you know if God could snatch sin from our mouth, hands, head and heart without us doing any work, we wouldn’t have sinners? When we allow ourselves to get caught up in the world, it’s not God but it’s the flesh. So God can’t take what isn’t his or what he didn’t give. It’s like you standing with a cigarette in your hand begging God to take the taste of nicotine out of your mouth but God can’t remove it when you’re still using it. The only way for you to begin to get rid of your addiction, you have to first give it up. Yes, you have faith that it can be done but now what? The bible says in James 2:14, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?” You have to help God help you and that’s by praying, having faith and then working. You pray for God to forgive you for committing adultery and you promise to never do it again but you answer every time the sin calls, you reply every time they text or you go running every time they say. Child, stop answering the phone! Make up your mind to stop and then stop. Yea, you’ll still have temptations but with giving your sin to God he’ll give you extra strength to fight them off. You can’t pray for a change, have faith that is can be done and then go back to sleep because James 2:17 says, “So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” You say, “Lord, can help me get this extension on my light bill?” then you go get on the couch to watch TV instead of calling or going to even ask for the extension. Honey, no! I guess you expect your account to appear on someone’s screen and then for them to know you need and extension and when your payday is? It doesn’t work that way. You’ve prayed and you got faith, so now work towards showing God that you really mean what you pray, he’ll do the rest.

Pray to God, have faith and then work! God can help you when you pray but you have to show him that you’re willing to accept the help he’s giving. If you pray and have faith that you can stop cursing, then work on stopping. Think before you speak and watch how your conversation changes. If you pray to stop smoking, stop buying the cigarettes or the marijuana and have faith that God will take away your desire for it then work on not picking it back up. If you pray for God to change the way you treat folk and you have the faith that it can be done, start treating them differently and watch God change your entire attitude and way of thinking. If you pray and have faith that God will stop you from drinking, stop going by the liquor store but work towards changing. To sum it all up and to make it plain, you have some work to do. You can’t expect God to help you pass a test if you never take it. You can’t pray for God to fix your marriage if you aren’t willing to work on changing whatever is wrong. The same way you can’t pray for God to heal you if you aren’t willing to take the medicine the doctor is giving. Pray for your change or for what you need, have faith that it can be done or given and then work toward making it happen. If it is your desire to attend worship service more, make a change in your schedule and go and let God do the rest. I know folks and even I have said let go and let God, this hasn’t changed but when you let God have it work so that he can keep it. If you’ve given him the hate that you’ve had bottled up in your heart, work towards loving so that you don’t reach back for the hate. If you’ve given him the doubt that you once carried around, work towards now believing so that the doubt never returns. When you’ve prayed and you have the faith that your prayer has been heard, work for your blessing. Mary Mary’s new song says, go get your blessing! God has your healing, he has your deliverance, he has your new career, house or car but you need to go get it. If God dropped blessings into our laps so easily, who would know what suffering feels like? Go get your blessing! Go get your healing! Go get your breakthrough! It’s your time, so go get it. You’ve prayed and you have faith, now what?