Wednesday, August 3, 2011

When My Faith Seems Small

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When My Faith Seems Small
A Devotional by Margot Cioccio
Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for 
and certain of what we do not see. 


I have faith in chairs, that when I sit in them they will hold me up. I have faith that the sun will rise tomorrow. I have faith that Mt.Rainier is still there on cloudy days when I can't see it looming over the Western Washington landscape.

Do I have faith to believe that God's promises in His word are true? Beyond that do I have faith to believe the things He has spoken to me in my quiet time with Him? Do I really trust him like Abraham even when every circumstance seems to shout the very opposite of what God has said?   I do - I'm not saying I don't have days when doubts creep in and my faith seems very small - I do. We all have those days.  I want to share some of the things that I do on days when my faith seems small. 


I Spend Time With Jesus: The first place you will find me is at the feet of Jesus. I lay it all out before the Lord. He already knows the condition of my heart and I ask like the father in Mark 9:24b
 “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”


I Remember: I remember the mercies and the goodness of the Lord. I make a point to tell others on those days about some time that the Lord has helped me in the past. In Revelation 12:11 "They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death." The word of your testimony is a powerful weapon by which we overcome the enemy. 


I Use My Weapons: I  remember 2 Corinthians 10:4 -5 "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." We have already been given powerful weapons for demolishing the strongholds in our lives and in the lives of others. If I know the Word then I will know when an argument is setting itself up against the knowledge of God. The more of the Word I have in me the less likely I am to sin against God. Psalm 119:11 is a good case for Bible memory. It say's "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you". Now I have some friends who really work at Bible memory, they practice in their spare time and they have many passages memorized word for word. I am not very good at memorizing. I may not be able to quote word for word, or give you chapter and verse but the Word is in me. For example just in writing this devotional post I am able to remember key words and concepts so that when I can quickly find the verses that I want to use. I have may not have spent time consciously memorizing, but I have spent lots and lots of time reading the Word. I have spent lots of time singing the Word. God wired me in such a way that allows me to remember things that have been set to music. We all have little tricks that help us remember the things we want to remember. My point is that knowing the Word is a powerful weapon against the enemy. 


I Stand on the Word: As I am praying and seeking the Lord often I will come across a verse that jumps out and speaks deeply to me in some way. That becomes a Word that I begin to stand on. It is like it jumped out just for me. We are promised that the Holy Spirit will teach us in John 14:26  "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." Those words I often put on 3x5 cards and carry in my pocket or I post it places where I will see them and be reminded. 


I Ponder: There are things that I don't know how or when God will work out - I just know that He will. I remember that He is able.  They are for me like money in the bank. I know it will be there when I need it in the future. I am making faith deposits for the future in the little steps of faith I take today.   I don't generally tell anyone those private things that God has spoken to me. Like Mary I take those things and treasure them or ponder them. Luke 2:19 says "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." I often journal those things so that when they do happen - I have created yet another testimony that will help me with things in the future. 


I hope that these little tips are helpful. This is certainly not an exhaustive list but these are some of the ways that I build myself up. 

Oh one last thing...


I pray in the Spirit - I don't always know how to pray but I trust that the Holy Spirit knows the mind of the Father and is able to pray through me. I love how the message explains this in Romans 8:26-28 "Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good." I have to quote something my friend Mark Kenney posted today "Someone asked if I believed in tongues. I said I'm pretty sure that most everyone I know has I'll say yes." I try not to make that subject a divisive issue. For me praying in the Spirit for me has been a huge blessing. It has added a deeper dimension my prayer life, particularly when I don't know how to pray. Its a gift - not a badge of spirituality.


I have found that I have faith for a given trial when I have been spending time at the feet of Jesus. It is a bad idea to wait for a trial and then to beginning cramming trying to work up faith. One must consistently be using faith and practicing faith in small things. Then when bigger things come our way we are able to look to the many small things that helped us to practice and grow in faith. David had practiced on lions and bears before he stood before the giant Goliath. Use what is going on now to build some spiritual muscle.


Prayer:  Dear Lord, Help me build some spiritual muscle in this trial I am facing. Help me to remember and to try some of the ideas in this devotional. Help me grow in faith so that I honor you in the situations that I face as I walk through day to day life. I invite you to be present with me as I go through this day.

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