Growing Strong in Trusting His Promises – Romans 4:17-21

ASPIRE: How do we grow strong in our faith?  How do I strengthen my capacity to trust the Lord?

1.         We grow strong in faith as we know what “is written” (v.17).  One must know well God’s promises before you can trust them.  You must know someone well before you have a greater capacity to trust them fully. 

2.       We grow strong in faith as we praise and worship God.  Abraham “grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God.”  What does it look like to give glory to God? Well, one thing for sure is that we get our eyes off of ourselves and the greatness of our problems and put them on the greatness of our God and His promises.

3.        We grow strong in faith as we refuse to allow our circumstances to dictate our emotional state and feelings.  Appearances can most often be deceiving and misleading. They were with Abraham and Sarai. They were at the cross of Jesus, and they will be in your life as well.

This passage sets forth two options for us.  One is wavering in faith.  Another is growing strong in faith.  There is no other option for those of us who follow the Lord Jesus Christ.  One is the pathway of walking by sight.  The other is the pathway of walking by faith.  Both types of people are aware of the same promises of God.  It appears that Abraham had plenty of opportunity to either grow weak (v.19) in his faith or to grow strong (v.20).  When he lied about Sarah, he was wavering in unbelief.  When he heeded Sarai’s counsel about going into Hagar, he was wavering in unbelief.  When he offered Isaac, he was strong in faith.  This see-saw story of the “friend of God” is our story, my story, your story. 

In a meeting with a small group of missionaries in China, Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission (now Overseas Missionary Fellowship) reminded them that there were three ways to do God’s work:

“One is to make the best plans we can and carry them out to the best of our ability.

Two, carefully lay out our plans and determine to carry them through, we may even ask God to help us and to prosper us in connection with them.

Three, another way of working is to begin with God; to ask His plans, and to offer ourselves to Him to carry out His purposes.”              

— Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, Biography of James Hudson Taylor (London: China Inland Mission, 1965), p. 271.

Admit Our Struggle with Unbelief – Romans 4:17-21

ADMIT: What do I need to confess when I forget this about the Lord?

Confession:  Lord, how easy it is to waver in unbelief concerning Your promises!  Am I “fully convinced” that you can do what is humanly impossible?  NO!

Do I really believe that you can cause your church to grow numerically and spiritually? 

Do you I really believe that you can heal and restore troubled marriages?

Do I really believe that you supernaturally open the womb and give barren women the ability to bear children?

Do I really believe that you can reclaim the wayward teens from the families in our church?

Do I really believe that you can raise up the necessary funding to send forth your missionaries to the ends of the earth for Your glory?

Do I really believe that you can move in the hearts of single men and women to draw them together in marriage?

Do I really believe that you can cause my unsaved neighbors to come to saving faith in Jesus? 

I believe! Help my unbelief Lord! AMEN.

When You Are Tempted to Throw In the Towel

When You Are Tempted to Throw In the Towel – Devotional Guide for Acts 18

If you have ever become discouraged after your attempts to serve the Lord and His people, then you could profit from digesting and reflecting upon Acts 18.

How easy it is to say: “Well, Lord, if you would speak to me in dreams and visions like you did the Apostle Paul, then I would do your will.” However, when we examine how God makes his will known to the Apostle Paul, he basically reiterates to Paul His foundational promises already contained in His Word. The same Word that we already have.His command to Paul is sandwiched between two promises.

Do Not Be Afraid
Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard (Luke 1:13).
Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God (Luke 1:30).
Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife (Matthew 1:20)
Do not be afraid; [shepherds]
for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people (Luke 2:10).
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified (Matthew 28:5).
Do not be afraid [John]; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades. (Revelation 1:17b-18)

Go On Speaking
O Zion, herald of good news;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good news;
lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!”
(Isaiah 40:9)
For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love,
I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal
(1 Corinthians. 13:1).
I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling
(1 Corinthians 2:2-3).

For I Am With You
The LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison (Genesis 39:21).
And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground (1 Samuel 3:19).
Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ (Isaiah 41:10).
Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the LORD. Work, for I am with you, declares the LORD of hosts (Haggai 2:4).
I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).
The Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it (2 Timothy 4:17).