DAY 51 - Doing Greater Works Than Jesus

Do I have strong faith that Jesus will do whatever I ask in His name (which also implies I am asking according to His character and His will)?

12  I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

INSIGHT:  Most of the great Reformers of the faith and the early giants of the faith believe Jesus means greater in number—not greater in deed.  After all, who has ever walked on water, instantly silenced a storm, or fed nearly 15,000 people from a sack lunch?  Jesus’ earthly ministry only lasted 3.5 years before He returned to the Father.  Thus, many people have done a greater number of things in ministry than Jesus has since they were here longer.  Think of George Muller, Hudson Taylor, D.L. Moody, Charles Spurgeon, Billy Graham, Charles Stanley and countless others.  Jesus may have touched thousands—they have touched millions by having strong faith in God through prayer.  I also believe, like them, that the Apostolic age died with the death of John on the island of Patmos and that the Apostles were given very special authority to work signs wonders and miracles, at will,  for the building of the foundation of the church and that no man has had this since.  However, God still does amazing and huge things through His people, but it requires childlike faith and dependence on God’s will.  This was not true for the Apostles, who could heal 100% of the people at will (Acts 5:16). They had such special authority that people were even healed by their shadows and handkerchiefs (Acts 5:15-16, 19:11-12).  Most believe this apostolic age of authority ended around 60 years after Jesus spoke these words, with the death of the Apostle John.  If the Apostles or anyone like them were on earth today, we would send them to the hospitals to snatch every single person out of their sick beds.  There is no one on the planet that can do that anymore.  That means the apostolic age was different than what we have today.  It was the foundation of the church and a foundation is laid only once (Eph 2:20, Rev 21:14).   Paul himself even refers to the signs and miracles done by the Apostles, in the past tense  (Heb 2:4). 

On the other hand, one day when I was inquiring of God about this passage and its meaning.  I said, “Lord, I have never done anything greater than you.”  Instantly my 777 day miraculous divorce flashes in my head.  It was like God said to me, “Which is greater, for me to raise someone from the dead, or for me to tell you in advance that your divorce will end on the 777th day, show you 777 over 100 times by my providence while you waited, rearranging and directing thousands of details over two years surrounding the schedules of the court, the judges, the attorneys, your time, your ex-wife’s, etc.,?  And then when it was over, I told you to read page 777 in your Bible where it says I am the ultimate executor of justice and I am the one who can give you justice when no earthly court can.  Which of these required more of my power, time, and attention?  I was stunned with this realization, but I continued, “But Lord, I did not do that greater work—you did!”  I was prompted to keep reading…v. 13 “And I will do whatever you ask…you may ask me for anything and I will do it.”

Praise God! I had a new understanding right then and there of this teaching.  I realized I had been a part of something even greater than some of the things that Jesus did on earth, but I also realized the necessary connection between His power and my childlike faith and obedience, not my authority to act apart from Him, as the apostles were able to do.  My part was to humbly ask, and trust His will, not to declare my will be done.  NOTE: The devil is still doing his counterfeit signs and wonders through false apostles and many get sucked into that!  Be CAREFUL! (2 Cor 11:12-15, 2 Thes 2:9, Rev 2:2)

DAY 50 - Faith that Moves Mountains

Do I doubt when I pray or do I believe I have already received what I asked for in prayer?

22  "Have faith in God," Jesus answered. 23  "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

INSIGHT: Having the foundational faith that God exists is easy for most Christians.  Having the functional faith that God can and will do the impossible is not, and yet it is demanded.  God uses our faith so that He can move us into action in ways that bring Him glory.  We must learn to walk in strong faith in God, if we are to please Him, receive His best for our life, and to glorify Him (Heb 11:6).  Strong faith is like a muscle and must be built over time through a combination of Spirit led risk taking, patiently waiting on God, and seeing God come through over and over again.  I don’t meet too many Christians today that have strong functional faith in God, because for many it is quite easy to get along just fine without God.  Who wants to take risk when they don’t have to?  This is the devil’s sales pitch for sure, because he knows what happens to a Christian who learns to live by faith.  There are mistakes made along the journey as we mishear God, get ahead of His timing, manipulate our circumstances, put Him to the test, or shrink back in fear/doubt as we focus on the circumstances rather than God.  Our human reasoning is the strongest obstacle to faith in God.  Every single blessing in my life right now, and the major promises I have from God for the near future, are a result of strong faith in God and abandonment of my human reasoning.   Human reasoning doesn’t often give permission to move away from your children, fire your divorce attorney, put your whole future at risk, say no to a $150k job offer when you really need the money, set down your secular work, humble yourself before your persecutor, be willing to be wronged and cheated, or for trusting God to be your soulmate match maker, rather than by your own efforts or man made tools.  We don’t get this kind of faith overnight, and we should not look down on others who don’t yet have it, but we should encourage them to step up to it!  There is no greater adventure and joy in all of life!

There is great risk in trusting God, but the rewards of a life of faith are incredible.  There is no joy like seeing God come through over and over in answer to your prayers.  My oldest daughter, Chelsea’s 9th birthday was coming up soon and she and I keep a special birthday date at Carrabbas each year. I was already in full time ministry and trusting God to provide without asking any person for money.  I had no money to take her out or buy her anything.  With only 3 days until “date night”, I went and got Chelsea and told her that Daddy didn’t have any money and so we needed to pray and ask God to help us for her birthday.   We got down on our knees and prayed together.  We told no one else, not even Grammy and Papa.  The day before her birthday, we were at a picnic at a State park and I received an anonymous envelope with $100 in it.  We had the best dinner ever and Chelsea got to experience God’s faithfulness first hand!

Faith of any kind is a gift from God.  It is God who gives us the ability to believe Him, but we have a role to play—faith requires risky action.  I see no acts of faith in the Bible that didn’t require risk, even if just the risk of losing personal dignity with your own children.  God has given you the capacity for faith and you must exercise it through action, as He leads (not by putting God to the test).  Faith with action says we believe God is telling the truth and can be trusted.  Inaction says we believe God is a liar and cannot be trusted.  This is why we can’t please Him without faith, and this is why we can’t be among the righteous without faith (Heb 10:38).