First the Blade
© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven
Building Mustard-Seed Faith (a)
We can expect to have adverse circumstances happen in our journeys. But what will be our first thoughts? To phone a prayer team member? Or a pastor? Call a specialist who knows how to get God on the hot line for us, but what if no one is available, then what happens?
We will have to toss our own prayers toward heaven, hoping God will hear them. But who are we? We aren’t John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Billy Graham, or the reincarnation of Smith Wigglesworth, we’re just everyday Christians, struggling to survive. How can we know whether God will answer our prayers or not?
This is where the rubber meets the road.
Now, faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11: 1)
Faith is the assurance, the confidence, the deep trust God will answer our prayers and help us in our times of need. Now, why is that so?
Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. (Mark 11:24)
Why? Because Jesus, the Living Word, said so.
According to Mark 11:24, when must we believe our prayers for miracles, healings, deliverances, financial help, or whatever are answered by God? When we see it and can actually touch it? No. That’s walking by sight and not faith.
We must believe we have received our answer from God when we first prayed to Him. Then, we have to walk by faith until we see the manifestation of the answer in our lives.
“What?” you say. “How can that be?”
For example, let’s say we order a book online from Amazon.com. We give Amazon our shipping information and our credit card number. Amazon then flashes a big “Thank you for the order” and sends us an email confirmation.
Do we have the book yet? No. We just have assurances from a reputable company the book will be sent. We trust the integrity of Amazon to follow through on what we have asked them to do.
If we can trust the words of companies like Amazon, how much more should we trust God and His word?
God never lies. God is love and He never fails. Period. No man or company can match the integrity of God because He is perfect. His word is truth.
As a young Christian, I struggled with this concept about faith until the Lord provided a useful answer in one of my early trials.
My family and I moved from Kentucky to Iowa during the 1981 tax season. I decided to save a few bucks and ignore paying Kentucky income taxes. This omission eventually became a big problem six years later after receiving an overdue tax notice from the State of Kentucky for $42,000.
I phoned the Kentucky Treasurer’s office. They told me the debt would remain at $42,000 until I sent them proof of what I owed and a check for the full amount.
Upon checking our tax statements, I discovered the 1980 tax statements had been thrown out. Therefore, I had to order copies from the IRS.
Have you ever tried to get info from the IRS? Their wheels turn slowly. After a year of phone calls, the IRS notified me all 1980 tax forms and earlier had been destroyed for space reasons.
The only proof I had of my 1980 income was a tax averaging form, which I used on my 1981 income taxes. I phoned the Kentucky Treasurer’s office.
“Tax averaging forms are not accepted. You must have the original forms,” they said.
They then lowered the debt to $5,000 and gave me fifteen days before the state filed a lien on our home. I finally decided to seek the Lord on the matter.
The Lord told me to figure out my taxes according to the tax averaging form and send a letter to the state of Kentucky with a copy of the form. I was to tell them I was willing to settle for $500, which was the original amount I owed.
The Lord also told me to write a letter to Him, stating the time and date I asked Him to take care of the problem, along with scriptures to back up my words. God is a covenant God. Our faith becomes a covenant between Him and us at the exact moment we believe Him for an answer to our prayers.
I sent the tax letter to Kentucky and kept my covenant letter in my Bible.
Whenever doubts hit me, I took the letter out of my Bible and waved it before God. “God, I believed by faith this was handled by You on this date and at this time. You are not a liar. I trust You and Your word that it’s done. Thanks for taking care of it,” I proclaimed aloud to Him.
The state of Kentucky accepted my offer three weeks later.
I have used this method of writing down the dates and times of my requests to God often over the last twenty-five years and then reminding Him of our covenant. Maybe it is a tool that will work for you, too.
(Continued…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)