Do You Really Believe What You Believe? :: By John Lysaught

Do you really believe what you believe? Pause and think about this for a couple of seconds. A simple statement on the surface, but the depth of it is far more. Any and everything in the Bible is God breathed. The words were not made up. The stories are real, and yet, have you found yourself really believing the true words of God as put forth in His Word?

It’s one thing to say you believe in everything the Bible teaches, but do you really? The Bible teaches of grace, mercy, righteousness, and salvation, as a few main points, but do you actually believe these concepts?  I’m not sure we all do. It takes great faith to address these doubts to really believe the concepts.

In a Bible study once, we were discussing the forgiveness offered to all believers through Christ.  We talked of minor things that occur and then delved into deeper conversation about more abhorrent sins, like murder. One of the attendees stated He could never see how there would be forgiveness for a murder, child molester, or rapists. He didn’t believe God would forgive people like this.

Maybe you are one of those. Maybe you know someone or where a victim of a crime yourself. What do you think? Do you really believe that forgiveness, even for these type of people, is available through Christ? Even after explaining in depth with this fellow how even the Apostle Paul was a spear in the fight against Christians, he was forgiven and became a champion of the faith, our friend’s opinion wouldn’t change. Are you like our friend?

Let’s get a little deeper. What about the strength of God in your life?  When we pray “…your kingdom come, you will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-13).  Do we really believe this?  We hear of people stating they have stumbling blocks in their walk with Christ, or strongholds they can’t seem to shake, but really, the Bible says all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26).  If you really believed that all things are possible with God, why do you still have strongholds in your life?

Whatever “it” is, we make excuses to explain away the continuing sin occurring in our lives.  Now, if we really believe that God created everything (Genesis 1:1) is our strength (Ephesians 6:10) and is the power in our lives (Ephesians 3:20), then what is our excuse? We don’t want to admit we are weak. We don’t want to face our sins fully. If we did, we would stop whatever sin we are committing because we really believe what we believe God can do for us.

You may disagree but I believe there is a part of each one of lacks the whole faith of God in our lives. Disagree? Let’s look at finances. Letting God help our marriages, and guidance of kids is easy to do. Shoot, we have no problem lifting our problems for God to handle. We want Him to lead us to where He wants us to use our gifts and to help people, but when it comes to money…hmmm… well, uh, hmmm, maybe not so much.

Finances is the “it” for a great majority of folks. God will not harm us (Jerimiah 29:11) and He will guide us (Galatians0. 5:16) but when it comes to the penny we have in our pocket, this is different. If the Holy Spirit, given to us through Jesus, impressed on you to give that tax return to the church youth group, would you? Or would you talk yourself out of it?

One year, I gave a challenge to everyone in the church. To give their tax return to a part of a church ministry that the church was active in. You know how many did? Other than my family, no one. It impressed upon me that people want their money for themselves.  Sure, we will use our tax return to buy that big screen TV or go on that vacation, but what do we do with the money God made us stewards of? I don’t know about everyone. I know what I saw in a congregation and it was troubling.

Ok, what if the Holy Spirit impressed upon you to quit that job for a significantly lower paying job? Sure, it’s easy to ask God for a better paying job with promises to give the extra to Him (though we don’t, we buy more stuff). Yet, if it was impressed to us to take a step down into a lower tax bracket, would you? Probably not.  It is hard, I’ve been there. There is a lack of trust in God to take care of us when money is involved.

It was mid-2007 when the Holy Spirit impressed upon me very clearly to leave my career behind in the Army. I fought and fought and the voice in my heart got louder and louder. I could have fought it and silenced the voice of the Holy Spirit, but I decided to step out in great faith and listen.

Long story short, there was a reason and it came to fruition years later. It was hard to trust my life, my family’s life, and my finances to God when I didn’t even have a job lined up. He took care of us and it all worked out for the better. Was it hard, oh yes. Was it trying, yes very much so, but I would just remind myself that God told me to do this and He wouldn’t abandon me or set me up for failure.

I’m facing a similar situation again and it is so much easier now to let Him guide me in this because I have experienced His care for me in the past. Do I have my doubts? Yes. At times when I let my mind wander to the “what if’s,” but then I just think back to 2007 to remind myself that yes, God knows what He is doing better than what I know I’m doing. God has a bird’s eye view of my life while I can barely see the end of my nose.

When it comes down to it, we have issues of trust. We trust our seatbelts and airbags to keep us safe in our cars, but all in all, we seem to lack complete trust in God.  We want to trust in Him because we believe in Him and His words, but there is still a small tiny piece of us that can’t hand it ALL over to Him because we don’t really believe what we believe.

When you find yourself in a situation or a mindset of disbelief, remember that God will not forsake us (Psalm 9:10). Trust that He will care for you and help you to really believe what you believe.


Give Him Praise :: By John Lysaught

“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him
with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.

The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today if ye will hear his voice” (Psalm 95:1-7 KJV).

I’ll let you into a bit of my life for a moment; it’s about lying in bed while I try to drift into
sleep. I pray to God. I talk to Him and give Him my praise and worship through my words of thanksgiving to Him then ask Him to help me in the areas of my life where I need help until I
fall asleep.

I want my last thoughts of the night be on Him. I’m not gloating at all, it’s just what I do. I want my last thoughts to be on giving praise to His omnipotence and power over everything.

God is worthy of our praise. He is the Alpha and Omega (Rev 1:8). He is the Creator of all. Doesn’t this beg for the worship He deserves from us? As His creation, we should give Him thanksgiving in all things—the good and the bad.

Personally, I have a problem with some Christians who only praise God when things are going well in their lives. I mean, yes, it is important to praise God for the good things, but when the tides turn, some people question why and get upset with Him. They seemingly act as if they are entitled to blessings from God and He took it away from them and they want it back. God gives and takes away (Job 1:21 ) and we should be praise Him regardless of the situation.

When we praise God for the good, we must continue to praise Him in the trials and tribulations of life. God is our Rock (Psalm 18:2). He is our strong foundation (Isaiah 28:16) to which our faith is built upon. Yes, we will face troubles and tribulations, but we are assured God will not forsake us in those trying times (Psalm 94:14). He is our God and we are His children.

In everything we have and everything we do, praise needs to be poured out to our Lord. He
gave us breath, life, and a future with Him in heaven through the sacrifice of His Son. We must remember that without our Creator, we would not exist and without His love for us we would
not have any hope, any hope at all.

Praise to God must not be taken lightly. We owe Him the praise and worship for all that happens to us or has happened to us. I grew up in a pretty bad house with abuse and lots of drugs. Looking back, I can see the hand of God protecting and guiding me through those years. I am who I am today because God used those bad times for the good I do today (Romans 8:26). He is the Author of my life and the chapters I lived through made me the man I am today and the lover of God I am, and hope to grow more.

Some would say that there is no praise to be given in those many years in the kind of environment in which I grew up. I disagree. God used my past to help me do His will today. He used my experiences to give me empathy and sympathy to those who have suffered as I did or in similar circumstances.

I give Him praise for helping me get through those years and I praise Him for the follower of Jesus that I am today. I couldn’t be more thankful for Him. Was life easy growing up in that environment? Absolutely not, but God guided me through it. Without Him and without His love and mercy, I would not be writing these words.

The splendor of our King deserves our praise day after day. By His hand we exist and by His hand we live each day. We may not like our jobs, but God deserves the praise that He enabled us to work within our skills and abilities. We may not like our place in life, but God provides us with a roof over our heads and food to eat (Matthew 6:26-34). We only need God and to fully trust Him with our lives. When we do this, praise Him for He cares for us more than you can ever imagine.

Sing praises to God. Sing how great He is to us and for us. We are nothing without Him. Doesn’t the God of the universe that supersedes time and dimension deserve praise? Yes, yes He does. To deny praise and thanksgiving to God, we deny His greatness and His power over the world and in our lives.

It may be hard to give praise to God when we are having trials and tribulations. It may seem as if, by our perception, that He left or abandoned us. Some may feel like they are being punished by Him—absolutely not true. Even in the hardest of times, we must give God praise. Not necessarily for the trial we are going through, but for the strength and guidance that He provides, through those low dark valleys that we tread through in different seasons of our lives.

We’ve all been in a dark forest for a season. When in the midst of those times, it is easy to put the blame on God. Our failures are not God’s fault. We get ourselves into the situations we don’t want. The problem is this: We never listened to God through the Holy Spirit.

We need to give God praise for the Holy Spirit. Once we’ve received the Holy Spirit at our conversion, we received the Helper promised to us as described in the book of Acts. Praise the Lord for this! The Holy Spirit is such an awesome aspect of the Triune God. We have the Holy Spirit to give us the guidance and the voice of reason when we need direction and encouragement.

Praise should not be taken lightly. God is worthy of our praise. Without God sending His Son down to walk with us and be the final sacrifice for our sins to make us righteous before God, we would have nothing to have hope for when we leave this world. We are so much more than we know to God, and He needs the praise from our hearts and lips to express our thankfulness for all He has done for us.

When it comes down to it, giving praise is a decision each one makes. You can take and take and never say “thank you” to Him or praise Him for what you have. You can have little to nothing and praise God. You could be facing the biggest challenge of your life and still praise Him. He is our God. He is the Creator of all. Just praise Him for all that you have and all that He gives you as a child of God.