Faith or Works?

This morning I was fighting doubt;  a disastrous and dangerous feeling to a Believer.  The project before me seems insurmountable, in fact it would be in my own strength.  But God has consistently been doing what only He can do, reminding me that He is in charge.

But for the last few days, there has been some disappointments from unexpected places.  Faith and excitement were soon overwhelmed by doubt and fear.

Yet as I remembered what God has been doing, I instinctively knew that I had to keep going.  I made a choice:

  • Remember who God is and what He did yesterday,
  • Rest in what He will do today,
  • Rejoice in the certainty that He will be the same tomorrow.

Then I read James 2:18-26

But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!  But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

As a Jewish follower of Yeshua (Jesus) it would be easy to confuse “works of the law” versus “works of faith.”  One is trying to achieve righteousness before God while the other is the manifestation our faith and righteousness.

Once again God spoke to me as He offered  encouragement and consolation.  My faith in His immutability (unchangingness) was all that I needed to continue on this wonderful journey He has put before me.  Doubt and fear have no place in my soul when my spirit is transformed by the reading of His word.

Whatever you are facing today,

  • Remember God’s faithfulness and mighty acts in your past
  • Rest knowing He will continue to do what He started in your present
  • Rejoicing in the hope of His promises for your future.

So keep on keeping on!

With love, j

Seeking God In New Ways

How is your soul refreshed and restored?

For me, seeing God’s glory as revealed in the heavens brings peace and satisfaction to my soul.The sunrise is probably one of my MOST favorite views. A star filled night sky comes a very close second on my favorite list.

A sunset can take my breath away. Hills, mountain streams, white, puffy clouds moving across a pure blue sky are also high on my list.

Sadly, I can see none of these sights from my basement apartment. Although surrounded by the hills of Jerusalem I have only a small opening over my patio which allows light and sun to flood down on my astro-turf, but my view is a cement wall bordered on each side by rock walls.

Needless to say living here has been more than a challenge. True, God has enabled me to bring beauty to my new home, but my soul craves more…much more.

These cravings soon turned to disappointment and eventually to an ungrateful heart. I was conflicted by what I knew to be true of God – His love for me, His faithfulness, His provision, His purposes, etc versus what I was experiencing.

Not seeing the sky was only one of the losses I’ve experienced since returning home. Entertaining and hospitality has always been a major part of my life and ministry. My home has always been filled with old and new friends seeking the Presence of the Lord. But that too is a challenge given the lack of space.

Questions assaulted my faith. “Was God displeased?” I was convinced I’d done something “wrong” and was now being punished. Without answers or relief, my heart, already fragile from events of this past year, sought refuge in itself. I could feel my heart becoming as hard as the walls of rock outside my window.

O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your anger,
Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure.
Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am weak;
O LORD, heal me, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled;
But You, O LORD—how long?
Return, O LORD, deliver me!
Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake!

For in death there is no remembrance of You;
In the grave who will give You thanks?
I am weary with my groaning;
All night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
It grows old because of all my enemies.
Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity;
For the LORD has heard the voice of my weeping.
The LORD has heard my supplication;
The LORD will receive my prayer.
Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled;
Let them turn back and be ashamed suddenly.

I was desperate for the God of break-though (2 Samuel 5:20). My journal entry of August 31st reveals that God was delivering me from the enemies of my soul. With a quiet understanding, I knew another aspect of 2 Corinthians 5:17. God was asking me to seek Him in new ways. The old had gone and this was new season.

“I have seen You in Your Creation – the afternoon breeze, the stars and skies. Yes all is gone – that which I’d so taken for granted. Now I must find you by faith and not by sight. To find and rest in You in the unseen, the intimacy of relationship. Things only bring a modicum of comfort. You can be found in the deepest and darkness of any prison. In Your presence there is security, contentment and strength.

” I am not alone. Many are and more will be confronted by the removal of that which has been so comfortable. Our ways of life will soon be gone. All our pillars are being taken away, broken, destroyed.”

Many years ago while hobbling on crutches after breaking my foot, I felt the Lord say, “I am removing all that which You relied on and replacing the crutches of your life with ‘love and faith.'”

Yes, break-through has come as the Lord is teaching me the meaning of total surrender in the midst of disappointment. Real refuge, refreshment and restoration comes from His presence, under the shadow of His wings.

In this day and season of change, we are losing all that has been familiar and comfortable. For some the loss is a catastrophic loss of health. For others, the loss might be a house or a career. For others the loss might be the loss of a dream. The kind of loss we experience really doesn’t matter, the pain is universal and can devastate if not destroy our faith.

Seeking until we find His presence is our only life giving option. The journey might be a challenge. It probably will be demanding, but it’s crucial. He has promised that if we seek Him with ALL our heart, we will be found by Him. I’m so glad that He has brought my out of the prison of my emotions so that I might praise Him with a whole and grateful heart.


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