Faith and Works

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.” James 2:26

The works of the body indicate the quality of the spirit. The works of the body also indicate the quality of faith. Faith enhances the spirit, and an enhanced spirit enhances the body. An enhanced body, in turn, enhances the faith and the spirit.

The progression of the soul, therefore, in reaching fulfillment in the awareness of oneness with God – a wholeness in self within God and the universe – is not linear, but spiral. As the movement of a finger affects other parts of the body – and the spirit, so the thought in the mind causes effect in the body and the spirit – even if one is not aware of this.

The key to a life of Christ is to have the Christ spirit free to be expressed in every area of one’s life – in spirit, body and faith.

The expression can start in any one of these – whatever is relevant at the moment, depending upon one’s circumstances and one’s will.

The mistake often made is one of hesitation and confusion as to where to start in the search for Truth, and when to start. But the time and place are always here and now: in other words, “the sooner the better”.

Whether faith is all that can be perceived, or works are all that can be perceived, or awareness of one’s self (spirit) is all that can be perceived at a given moment, matters not – any of these is God-created, and God-sustained, and is capable of being God-guided and God-enhanced. These works of God are done when the will of His child is pointed to His will – as a compass points, so can the will be pointed.

To learn to point the will toward God, and God’s will, we must:

  1. Hear the Word,
  2. Understand the Word – through
    1. Prayer,
    2. the Spirit within,
    3. a Christ attitude, and

3. Do the word through Christlike actions and behavior and works.

When our will is encased in God’s will, we are in harmony with Whole and Holy Truth.

Our perception of ourselves and everything in any way connected with us is thus changed – transformed, enhanced, beautified – all to God’s glory, to our joy, and to the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

Prayer of Response: Oh Lord – you who are hidden beneath mystery, that You may not invade my free will, thus enabling me to choose to discover You myself, and find life as I longed to have it be, I thank you that you force me to search. I am therefore interested, and excited, and when I do find confirmation of a thought or a theory concerning the significance of life and the reality of it, I feel I have found great treasure.

Enable me to be enthusiastic in continual searching for more treasure. I’m greedy, Lord, I want to find all that you have hidden – not that you don’t intend it for me, but you formed me in such a way that I need to have the choice and the challenge of a treasure hunt instead of a handout. It develops me as your mature child, as well as satisfying you as a parent.

I can’t say that every incident is pleasant – but I promise I will try to recognize that you are with me to help me over all the difficult terrain, and that you fully desire that I find every bit of hidden treasure.

I know I’m yours – even if I’m not quite sure exactly who you are yet. And I’m glad I’m yours – every bit that I learn of You gives me confidence in your ability to be the Perfect Parent. Thank you.

James 1:5-8 & James 1:2

Meditation thought: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, not doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven by the wind. For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord.” (James 1:5-8)

“Count it all joy my brothers, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2)

Both wisdom and faith are developed, not given as gifts, full-blown and complete, with no effort put forth by the recipient.

To develop a steadfast faith is the first step in being able to develop wisdom, for you must “ask in faith” in order to receive wisdom. That faith is developed through ‘testing’ – as you meet challenges, pray, believe, and observe results, you develop a ‘steadfast’ faith, which enables you to ask in faith for wisdom. Your trials have brought to your attention your dire need for wisdom. When you combine steadfast faith in my desire to impart wisdom to you and your desire to receive it, then it is possible for wisdom to “make you perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” My Holy Spirit as motivator and guide of your thoughts, your words, and your deeds imparts wisdom to you.

“Nothing succeeds like success” is appropriate here, for the more steadfastly you develop faith, the more generously my wisdom can be imparted to you. It is through wisdom (right and righteous decisions) that I am able to delight in the resulting transformation of the world into kingdom.

The ordinary is enhanced by a glow – transformed, by a new perspective, and thus gives birth to new appreciation, much as objects are made more lovely, and even much changed, in appearance by a sunrise or a sunset.

It is through your seeking me in faith that I am able to transmit the light of my wisdom which transforms appearances and thus inspires a higher level of performance by you.

Recall that advice you read yesterday: “act as if God has responded. This is simply one form of behavior modification”. As you pray, believing, act as if your prayer has been answered, for this is the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” It is believing you have what you pray for when you pray. This “steadfastness of faith” – your firm conviction that I desire to give you my wisdom in whatever form is needed for a particular situation and particular prayer is the releasing of the blocks between my will and your free will which must be willingly loosed by you before my gift of wisdom – which will be the means of producing all transformations of worldly into kingdomly – can flow into your being.

First you must be convinced that I love you and desire to shower my blessings upon you – my blessings – not your perception of what my blessings should be, but blessings according to my wisdom and knowledge of not just you, but of the whole universe.

At times there will be no conflict between your human desires and my blessings – but at other times, you will either need to adjust your desires, or wait until a transformation takes place for them to be fulfilled.

The wisdom which you seek is the means by which you will know whether you need to actively adjust, or faithfully wait.

Until you feel comfortable about a situation, perceiving that my will has been done in it, take these steps:

  1. Pray
  2. Think about everything pertinent
  3. Be aware of all circumstances, looking for clues
  4. When the situation appears to call for action, take action, always being conscious of Christ’s spirit living in you, allowing Christ to guide you.
  5. Believe that you are the force I am using to do my will (which, by your yielding to me in appealing for my wisdom, has also become your will).
  6. Behave insofar as possible, as if the transformation is complete. Become an actress if necessary, adjusting expression, voice, and actions to be appropriate with the scene you envision as being our completed transformation.
  7. Do not allow fear, or doubt that you have comprehended correctly, to enter into the situation. I use positive, committed, focused movement to accomplish my will, just as human endeavors accomplish goals. If you go amiss, I will re-direct you – as gently as you allow me to do it.
  8. Believe that I am who I say I am through Christ: total love, and totally loving. When anything else appears to be expressed, something dissatisfying or painful, it is due to misunderstanding or rebellion on the part of the child, not the Father.
  9. Do not be a fearful child, expecting harsh punishment for infraction of rules, particularly when you break rules out of ignorance or misunderstanding. Even if you require discipline (and that is not “punishment”), the discipline will be as light as possible to teach you.
  10. Trust my power. Recall the miracles in the Old Testament, the New Testament and your own life and those whom you know.
  11. “Go and sin no more.” Christ’s healing touch has transformed you. Believe, and act upon your belief. Tell of my love which sent His healing touch to you. Tell of His compassion. Tell of the power to save men from despair, and bring them to joy. It is the power of my love that bathes everything in transforming light , making all beautiful, and all right. My love is expressed through as obedient child. Be my obedient child – you will find your joy and your fulfillment in that role. No other role in life will totally please you – or me.

Prayer of response: Father, thank you for this teaching today in response to my desire for wisdom. Please enable me to learn it well, doing all which you have suggested joyfully and well. I praise your Holy Name. I thank you for Jesus. I thank you for your Holy Spirit. I thank you for heaven and earth – for all that exists, in spirit and in the physical.

I seek to know what you desire me to know, and do what you desire me to do, for therein lie the fulfillment of my desires. I thank you for the fulfillment right now.

Jeremiah 29:13-14

(This blog contains reference to a personal situation that was going on at the time and, thus, a bit of it may seem out of context to the reader. But, I found the spiritual truths to be so relevant that I believe God can use this post to help others even if the context may not be entirely clear….Karen)

Meditation Thought:

You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you. Jeremiah 29:13-14

“You are perceiving stepping stones as road blocks – you are looking at the stones from the wrong perspective – you have not moved from the low place to the high place, where you can move on top of circumstances.

You are seeking guidance – and I shall take you to the high place if you will heed My Word, heed My Spirit within you, and use your mind to think through whatever comes into your life.

The key sentence which you realized was intended for your edification in the clipping you read is “and then act as if God has responded.

You need not be confused about praying in faith possibly conflicting with My Will. When your heart desires first that my will be done, it shall be done – even if you do not pray precisely the way I desire. Yet, if you are to pray at all, you must choose a way in which to pray. You have received no guidance indicating that your logical thinking on this matter is in error. Only the fact that the house has not yet sold has you doubting. I have done works for you as you have waited, as I have done works in others. You shall abide in Me wherever we abide physically. There are a number of places where we can do what we need to do, both for your development and your ministry. Simply relax now, praying that my desires shall be your desires, and know that in the prayer itself is the power to bring about the reconciliation. You do not know where it is best for you to be – at your current address or elsewhere – in the future. But I know – and I will guide you to be content in the physical place where you reside, because your spirit will reside with my Spirit there.”

Her response (edited for privacy but included for encouragement): “Lord, thank you for this lovely home. Thank you for my future home or homes. Thank you that you know me better than I know myself, and are the architect and decorator ‘Par excellence’  for me, whatever the situation. Help me to perceive the delights of the kingdom in my physical home, that I may bring these to the attention of my family and my friends. …Lord I would have every part of my physical residence, and physical items everywhere bring glory to You, and enhance our relationship. In Jesus Precious Name I pray this becomes a reality. Amen.”

John 1:4

 

Meditation thought: “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4

Jesus came that we might have not only a teacher, but an example. To hear about a subject is never as revealing as to observe the subject. A father may try and try to explain to a child what it is he would like the child to learn – but the child still may not comprehend. If the father can demonstrate – preferably in several areas, using several senses, the child then may understand. It is helpful, too, if the child knows that the father actually has done, or does the action he desires the child to take.

If the child is to learn, he needs to focus his attention on the father, however, and not be distracted by other things.

So, too, in Jesus we have our actual demonstration of the thinking and the character and the type of actions which God intends for his human creations to have.

Not only is the life of Jesus able to help us comprehend more fully what the Father intended us to be as His children, but – as a father may aid a child in his task – Jesus, too, by His Presence within us, aids us in our tasks.

Thus He is light in the sense of revealing, and light in the sense of changing something (as light changes plants).

Prayer: Lord Jesus I want You to be a great light to me – revealing that which has been hidden, and changing in me all that is alien to the Father’s character.

I know your work is cut out, and so is mine! I have many selfish desires, and often absent-mindedly overlook things I shouldn’t. But, I do realize that I need to change, and be changed, and you are the One who can help me! Thank you!

“Make me to know thy ways, O Lord, teach me thy paths. Lead me in the truth, and teach me, for thou art the God of my salvation, for thee I wait all the day long.” (Psalm 25:4-5)

Hebrews 12: 6,10

Meditation Thought: “The Lord disciplines him whom he loves… he disciplines us for our good.” Hebrews 12:6,10

“You are not perfect – not a perfect expression of my character. Therefore, I must help you in the necessary changes to move you more closely to perfection, since you desire this as your highest priority. Sometimes the necessary discipline – much of which is merely the effect from what you have caused – is unpleasant. Bear it in good grace, for it will soon pass as you understand and move ahead in a more perfect obediance.

My desire for you to do my will is not due to my authority, but due to my great love for you. I have vast resources of wisdom, knowledge and power which I desire you to benefit from, but you must do your part to release them in your life – you must use your mind to learn the word, your faith to believe the promises, your spirit to comprehend the word and the promises, and your emotions to draw the surge of power. To do all of these you need discipline to forgo other pursuits that you may have time and energy for these.

Light your way with love. Walk your way in peace. Enhance your way with kindness.

Thus did Christ go His Way.

There is a secret to it: Perceiving the will of the Father – and doing it.

This is “discipline”.

It is not a matter of punishment, But a matter of practicality.

Allow this thought to penetrate, To change your attitude.

Be glad to know, And willing to do.

Your joy and fulfillment come not in leisure, But in movement:

Dynamic, exciting, ever-unfolding revelations

Brought forth through discipline –

The commitment of self To that which is True and Good.

Never Wavering, But steadied by Christ Living in your heart,

Demonstrating and nurturing.

“Discipline” becomes a friend, the helper, the accomplisher.

It is the Way to the kingdom.

There is no other way for you to find contentment.

Whether you wish it so, or wish it not,

This is the Truth.

To know the Truth Is to be free.”

 

 

Hebrews 1:1,6

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen… and without faith it is impossible to please him [God]. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 1:1,6

If I do not believe in the existence of something, I will have nothing to do with it. I will live as if it never was – even if it affects me, I will be unaware that it is the cause of something in my life, and I will react inappropriately – perhaps even causing harm to myself.

On the other hand, if I believe there is something which I have not yet found, but desire to have exist and desire to find it, I will seek it. If it truly does exist, I will find it. I will not find it if I give up part way along the search, however, because I have lost my faith.

I must try to use every means at my disposal to find what will give great meaning to my life – and faith is necessary – in fact, the first step to the other methods.

Prayer: Lord, I want faith. I have some – and You promised that if I had faith even the size of a mustard seed You would honor it and provide what You promised me. And You promised what I desire – the peace that passes all understanding. Thank you. I claim that promise with my faith. I desire it with all my heart to be fulfilled.

I believe, I believe, I believe: in You as sovereign Lord, as sacrificing Savior, as indwelling Spirit. Yes – I’m me, but not just me. I’m You, too – because You created me, and of necessity I carry You in me, as my children carry some of my physical characteristics, and the results of living with me – the influence I had on their thoughts and behavior.

Now if I believe that You are in me, and I do – and If I seek to know You – and I do – and if I expect You to reward me – and I do, then my life is going to be changed by my belief, and by Your acting upon my belief in You and in Your promises.

Thank you that You created me in love. Thank you that You sustain me in love. Thank you that I can rely on faith in your promises to be the power that turns the promises into completed acts.

I love you, Lord – I confess I don’t know You as intimately as I would like. I certainly don’t think, feel and act as I should when I know as much about your character as I do, and profess I want to reflect your character.

But I’m yours – and that in itself guarantees that You love me and I love you. We are bound to get closer and closer because of this fact. And I love that idea, because You are one great Father, who express yourself in infinite, interesting, helpful ways.

I have a lot of curiosity, and have a desire to have things wrapped up neatly – the challenge met, the mystery solved, the puzzle completed. But I suspect that if all was complete for my very long I’d be bored and restless – and lazy. I would lose my faith because I’d have all evidence and no missing pieces to be searching for. So, I recognize that I need to have faith be a part of me, even if I do get impatient, wanting instant results.

Help me Lord, to develop faith that is the power to get Your will done on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ Precious Name I pray. Amen.

Psalm 96:1-4

“O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised.” (Psalm 96:1-4)

When joy is so great that it cannot be contained, it is expressed in song. What better way to express the joy of the knowledge of God’s love?

God does save; God is glorious, God performs marvelous work; He is great – He deserves to be praised!

To think about all this is to bring a glow to life – it encourages in times of difficulty, and brings a sense of gratitude, which removes pride, in times of gladness.

We are God’s own – His family, his beloved. How wonderful to belong to One who is at once powerful and kind. We long for people to be our allies when they are powerful, but it gives us a sense of ‘rightness’ and joy when they are also kind.

So it is with God as our Father, we have a sense of rightness and joy when we are thinking of Him, communicating with Him, heeding Him and praising Him. What greater gift could we receive than to feel right and feel happy? This is exactly what we all seek, no matter who we are, what our circumstances may be, or what we are doing.

The treasure hunt for a sense of rightness and joy can end in success only when we know God, trust God, heed God, love God – and know that He loves us, encourages us, teaches us, cares for us, and leads us to the treasure. We must move toward it, as we are made aware of its existence and as we perceive clues to its whereabouts. Otherwise we never find it.

When it is found, though, only a song of praise to God can express our joy, and repay Him for His care for us – the sound of our praise is His joy, and is the fulfillment of His will – the provision made to bring to Him a sense of rightness. Mutual love and mutual respect combine to bring glory to God and peace to Man.