“Even So, Faith, if it has no works is dead.” James 2:17
Faith is our spiritual muscle. Muscles need to be used or else they weaken and gradually disappear. On the other hand, if you regularly challenge a muscle with work it grows bringing beauty, strength and endurance to the body.
So too must our faith be regularly challenged, or it will weaken until there is no evidence that it exists. How do we work-out our faith? When we depend on the Lord during a challenge, we experience the power of the living God in a greater way and our faith grows stronger. The Lord wants us to take risks for His name’s sake. He calls on us to depend on Him. However, it is in our nature to avoid risks, because they almost always take us out of our comfort zone into something unpleasant.
In faith we can choose to take time out of our busy lives for prayer, scripture, and worship. In faith we can choose to not retaliate in anger. In faith we can choose to pray in Jesus’ name with a person in need. In faith we can give trustingly of our time and resources to those in need. Acting on our faith brings holiness, strength and endurance to the Body of Christ.
If you have been feeling spiritually dead, ask the Lord to show you how you can exercise your faith. He promises to answer in great and mighty ways of which you do not know!
“And these signs will accompany those who have believed, in my name they will cast out demons, they will speak in new tongues . . . they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover.” Mark 16: 17-18
This year my mother was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. My mother who gave me life, now faced losing her own. I begged the Lord to use my trip home to make a difference. I left prepared to lay hands on my mom and anoint her with oil, hoping that God would do great things.
When I saw my mom, she was in pain, tired, angry and depressed. I felt overwhelmed, unworthy, incapable, weak in faith, and scared. But my love for my mom was greater than these, so I anointed her and prayed in tongues. God revealed Himself to her, and she was slain in the Spirit. We prayed daily, and each time she seemed to be drenched in His love. When I left she was renewed in faith, hopeful, and at peace. I was awestruck by His faithfulness and thankful for this chance to bring the Living Word to my mother.
Jesus tells us to follow Him, and He will make us fishers of men. He set an example for us of how to respond to people in need. Numerous times He laid hands, prayed, and healed. He calls us to be His hands and mouth for Him so that God’s glory can be revealed to all men. How can we refuse Him?
“Faith comes from what is heard and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17
“’Have no fear before them, because I am with you to deliver you,’ says the Lord. Then the Lord extended his hand and touched my mouth, saying, See I place my words in your mouth!’” Jeremiah 1:8-9
These two scriptures always remind me of a special conversation with my dear parents. My Mom and Dad were on a visit. One afternoon we started talking about God and religion. My parents are both strong, faith filled Catholics and have been Eucharist Ministers. My Dad is a man of very strong opinions. Most conversations we’ve had in my life seemed to be one sided where I did most of the listening.
The conversation that day was different. It was lively, fun, exciting and Spirit filled. As the talk flowed, my parents seemed to embrace what I was sharing with them about faith. My Dad told me my Uncle didn’t believe in Christ’s presence in the Holy Eucharist. His argument with my Dad was this: “If Christ is really present, we would have to approach Him on hands and knees.” I said, “Christ is really present. We know this through faith. Possibly we should be approaching our communion with Him on hands and knees.”
I was so blessed by our sharing of faith and by what my Dad told me afterwards. He said, “I already knew everything we had talked about, but I really needed to hear it again!”
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, and whoever believes would have eternal salvation.” John 3:16
Did you ever offer up a silent prayer in the midst of a stormy discussion? That was the case the night Johnny, my son, then a teenager, and myself had some heated and tearful words. My prayer was, “Lord please keep our hearts soft, and if there’s just one important thing You want him to know about You, You’ll make it clear.”
The main issue discussed was about my relationship with God. Johnny didn’t like the new religious Mom who went to church each Sunday. He didn’t like his Dad going over to the other side, to become a faithful churchgoer. He especially didn’t like the new house rule: If Dad goes to church, everyone goes!
Johnny thought the bible study would be a passing fancy like other past hobbies. He resented and accused me of wanting him to carry around a John 3:16 sign. Johnny explained that this was the sign held up at sporting events. He was amazed when I told him I had never noticed such a sign.
I wondered about the deep hurt Johnny felt and what John 3:16 was. As I read the scripture, I praised God for the amazing way He answered my prayer. You see, that night I heard Johnny explain that John 3:16 was the one scripture our whole Christian belief is based on.