Have you ever felt that your faith wasn’t working? You may even know these Scriptures: God has dealt to each one a measure of faith (Romans 12:3 NKJV), and Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17 NKJV), but you still feel your faith is lacking.
Maybe your faith needs more “exercise.”
Think of it this way: we’re all created with the same number of bones and muscles, but we aren’t all the same when it comes to physical strength. Some people exercise and work out, and their muscles become more developed and stronger than those who don’t exercise.
It’s the same with our faith. We’ve each been given a measure of faith, but to build up and strengthen our faith we need to exercise and develop our spiritual muscles. Here’s a spiritual workout plan to try:
Read the Bible aloud. To stand firm against the enemy, you have to know the authority the Bible gives you. The Word says to resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7 NIV). Tell the devil, “Listen to what I’ve got to say to you,” and begin to read God’s Word aloud.
Dig into the Word of God. Look in your Bible’s concordance and find every Scripture that has the word faith in it. Look up those Scriptures and declare them as your Bible rights every day.
Strong, developed muscles don’t happen by themselves, it takes work and determination to build them up. A strong, developed faith can’t grow on its own, either. If you feel your faith isn’t strong enough, maybe it’s time to begin a spiritual workout!
Have you been holding onto a dream, a vision that God has given you, but in the natural it appears there’s no way it will come to pass? This isn’t the time to quit. It’s the time to believe that the seeds you’ve sown and the vision God has given you are both going to come to pass.
I recall hearing from a man who saw us on TV back in 1988. He said, “I was living in a little efficiency apartment in Nashville, thinking my dream of being a songwriter was about to die. I turned on the TV and your program was on. You said, ‘There’s someone watching who’s about to give up on their dream. Don’t do it!’
“That sparked something in me,” he told me. “Over the next few days a song began to germinate in me, and a few weeks later I finished it.” That song eventually became a No. 1 hit for country singer Randy Travis, and the songwriter has written fifty-five hits since then!
Now that man could have given up his dream of writing songs, but he heard the word of knowledge from God, believed it, and acted on it. Some people hear a word from God and say, “That’s not for me. That’s baloney!” Those people make excuses for why their dream doesn’t come to pass. But others hear God’s voice and say, “I stretch my faith, I release my faith, and I go into agreement.” They put action to what they believe, and God honors their faith.
Do you have a dream or vision that needs to be restored? Jesus said, Be not faithless, but believing (John 20:27). So use your faith — believe God!
Being a mom, I like to do special things for our three daughters. Sometimes I’ll fry some bananas, which is a favorite snack of Jordan’s, our oldest daughter. The recipe is simple—I just use a little brown sugar or maple syrup to fry the bananas. And when the bananas hit the sugar sizzling in the pan, you can smell them a mile away. As soon as the aroma reaches Jordan, she comes into the kitchen and gives her approval by saying, “Cool, Mom.” I know what that means. I’ve made her happy by frying her some bananas.
Just as I take pleasure in doing something as simple as frying bananas for my daughter, God takes pleasure in doing things for us, His children. God is a God of miracles and wonders, but He is also a God who takes delight in meeting our daily needs and prospering us. Luke 12:32 says, Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Deuteronomy 30:9 NIV explains it further, The Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous.
Most people think prosperity is only money-related. But as God’s Word says, prosperity can include health and wellness, welfare and well-being, rest and peace. Just like any parent, God takes pleasure in the health, wealth, welfare, and peace of His children.
From the archives of Oral Roberts
I want you to try and visualize the four lepers who sat at the gate of the city of Samaria after Syria had besieged the city. (See II Kings 6:24,25; 7:3-9.) They knew if they entered the city where the famine was, they would die. They also knew if they remained sitting by the gate, they would die. Theirs is a message to anyone today who is hemmed in on every side by sickness, fear, defeat, or poverty. The message is: There is deliverance through faith in God.
Picture these men and consider their situation in the light of your needs. They were limited in number, they were ill with leprosy, and they were near the point of starvation. But they finally concluded that something could be done about their situation, so they asked themselves, “Why sit we here until we die?”
What did they do? They decided to leave their familiar surroundings and rise up and make a march of faith!
They were hungry, but they marched on!
They were sick, but they marched on!
They were dying, but they marched on!
Pain tortured them, but they marched on!
Danger and death stalked them, but they marched on!
Every step was agony, but they marched on!
First, they faced their situation and felt a stirring of faith. Second, they rose up from where they sat and left a familiar place. Third, they started out by faith and made a march of faith.
No matter what problems you are facing today, I pray that you will do what the four lepers did. Stop trying to hang on to the old familiar things in your life, and ask God to give you the strength to rise up from where you sit and make your own march of faith!
They say that the most prestigious horse race in the world is the great Kentucky Derby. It’s been called the fastest two minutes in sports. Each year the most highly trained and gifted three-year-olds compete in that race, and thousands of people come from all over the world. It’s truly an exciting event.
The story is told of an old farmer who once took his six-year-old horse and attempted to enter him in the race. He was told, “We don’t allow six-year-old horses to enter. It’s not possible.”
The farmer said, “We’ve been working and training him hard the past year, and I really want to enter him. I have the money.” They assured him that money was not the issue. However, they made an exception and allowed his horse to race in the Derby.
Everyone laughed and joked about it, and the media had a heyday with it. But when the race began, the horse shot out of the chute like a bolt of lightning. Before long he had the lead. As they came to the top of the stretch, he was several lengths ahead of the closest horse. By the time he crossed the finish line, to the astonishment of everyone, he had won by six lengths!
As everyone gathered around the horse, they kept saying to the farmer, “This is impossible! A six-year-old horse can’t win against all of these three-year-olds. How is it possible? Where have you been keeping this horse?” He replied, “Well, before we could train him, it took us five years to catch him!”
No matter our age or “natural abilities”, I believe, with God’s help, we can all run the race and expect to win the prize. God has anointed us and appointed us for this hour to do exploits in His Name and for His glory. First Corinthians 9:24 says, Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
James 1:4 says that we can be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. We have the ability to get our needs met, but there is a formula. One math formula is two plus two equals four. And every time, the answer is the same¾four. But if we change the plus sign or the numbers, it doesn’t equal four.
God has given us a way to get our needs met through His formula, which is called the Word of God. It will work just like two plus two equals four. Numbers 23:19 says, God is not a man, that He should lie. He keeps His Word. So if the outcome is not what we want, we need to adjust whatever it is that we’re doing to cause the wrong outcome.
The media has a tendency sometimes to take bits and pieces of people’s words out of context. And out of context is just that¾out of its context. You don’t get the whole picture, but a twisted version of what somebody said. And we can do that with God’s Word. We can take a segment and try to put it together with bits and pieces of what we want it to say. But 2 Peter 3:16 NIV warns, His [Paul’s] letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. Distorting Scripture is serious. That’s why I’m going to learn the whole Scripture. I am going to learn it, and then I’m going to do it.
Deuteronomy 8:3 says, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Let’s find out what God says and then act upon it. Once we understand the whole Scripture and apply it, then we can expect the promises to be fulfilled, just as God says in His Word!
I want to ask you a question. What would you ask God for that’s in line with His Word if you knew the answer would be yes? I doubt that any of us would ask for something small. I wouldn’t.
Now let’s look at the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:12 NKJV, which says: And the younger of them [the sons] said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. Now when the son said, “Give me my inheritance,” he did not make a mistake. He did not do anything wrong when he said, “Give me what’s mine.” It was due him. We know that because his father immediately gave his inheritance to him. He didn’t question his son about why he wanted it. He didn’t tell him he was too young. He simply gave it to him.
In the same way, it’s not wrong for you to ask God for what is rightfully yours as His child and then receive it. The problem is what you do with it after you receive it. It wasn’t the prodigal son’s inheritance that sent him to the far country. It wasn’t his inheritance that caused him to wind up in a pigpen, wishing he could eat the husks of corn that he was feeding to the pigs. The choice was his to do with his inheritance as he pleased.
When God created us, He gave us a free, moral agency. When He gives us something we’ve asked Him for, we have the choice of what to do with it. Are we going to do something good with it? Are we going to serve Him with it? Or are we going to wind up in the pigpen feeding pigs, so to speak?
What is your inheritance? What is it you’re seeking God for? Is it your own selfish desire, or is it what God wants for your life? Ask God what He wants for your life, and when you receive it, choose to use it wisely. The choice is yours!
From the archives of Evelyn Roberts
I never thought I could pray for people because the Lord didn’t really call me to pray for the sick—I felt I had no special calling.
One time Oral was ministering at a church in Hawaii. He had preached and then prayed for all the people. He was very tired, so he left and went to the car to wait for me. As I was leaving the church to join him, a lady came up to me, shouting, “Where’s Brother Roberts? Where’s Brother Roberts? I took a boat to come to this service, and the boat was late! I’ve got such a headache I can hardly stand up!”
I told her that Oral had finished praying for all the people and that he was already in the car. The lady was frantic. “Oh, what am I going to do? My head is killing me!” she cried. And before I even thought about it, I put my hands on her head and prayed, “Lord, heal her, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.” She looked at me and said, “Oh, it’s gone! My headache is gone!” She was healed.
The Scripture says These signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover (Mark 16:17,18). The passage doesn’t say you have to be especially called to pray for the sick. ALL believers can pray. And James 5:16 tells us that if we pray for one another, we ourselves can get healed. What that means to me is if I plant a seed into another person’s life, not only will that person be blessed, but good will come back to me too.
From the archives of Oral Roberts
Years ago I rode on a plane beside a man who, for the first fifteen minutes of the flight, had a queasy stomach…not because we were in turbulent weather, but because he felt the turbulence of fear in his inner being.
“I can’t talk,” he said. “I can’t collect my thoughts because the first fifteen minutes I’m in a plane, my stomach just turns, and I get sick.”
We may all feel fear differently, but we all feel it at times. That’s why Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 6:7 that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
One time when the Lord revealed a new direction for my ministry, it was so beyond what I thought I could do that I asked God to “uncall” me. “God, I can’t do this,” I said. “I’ve done what You called me to do so far, but this one I can’t do.”
All of us have times when we don’t know what to do, and the burdens get heavy. We let down our faith in God, and we feel fear. Fear is the absence of the spirit of power, love, and a sound mind that God promises us.
Why are we sometimes afraid of doing what God tells us to do?
Sometimes we’re operating in our own spirit instead of God’s. Our own spirit is never equal to the occasion. But, oh, what mighty things we can do when we move into God’s Spirit! When we let God’s Spirit work in and through us, we can face anything! There’s no way we can be afraid! We can look at what we’re called to do and boldly say, “Let’s go, Lord! Let’s start yesterday!”
There are times in each of our lives when we come to a turning point, a decision-making time, and we say, “This is it. This is what I’m going to do.” Usually we make these types of decisions based on logic and fact.
But there are times when God leads you to make decisions that you just can’t analyze logically, yet you know in your spirit you are to follow God in faith. The story of Abraham in Genesis, chapters 17 and 22, is a good example of following God’s instructions, even when it doesn’t seem logical or natural.
At the age of ninety-nine, God appeared to Abraham and told him he would be the father of many nations. God said that Abraham’s elderly, barren wife, Sarah, would give birth to a son. That seemed impossible to Abraham, but he didn’t stagger at the promise of God in unbelief, and indeed Sarah did give birth to a son, Isaac.
A few years later, God instructed Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice to Him. After waiting years to have a child, God told Abraham to kill Isaac! This was certainly not a decision that made sense to Abraham, but by faith he obeyed the Lord and prepared to sacrifice his son.
Sometimes God’s decisions seem incomprehensible to us, but that’s when He expects us to trust Him, just as Abraham did. Because Abraham followed God’s instructions, his son’s life was miraculously spared and Abraham was blessed with as many descendants as the stars of the heaven. Abraham didn’t waver or let unbelief strip him of his faith, and he got his miracle. Obedience to God’s Word is our part of God’s miracle-working power.