How Much Surrender is Enough?

God says we have to surrender everything, but my parent/spouse/child is not a Christian! My health is so bad I can’t even get out of bed! My son/daughter has died! My grandchild is very ill!  I lost my job and have been trying to get a new one now for 3 years! I have lost everything! All I have ever dreamed of is having a family and God won’t even give me a spouse!

These are really hard things to go through and for the record, I am not writing this study because I have it all figured out and respond perfectly when struggles come my way! Actually at this time being surrendered is my struggle and I need this study!

I have children that have chosen not to be Christians. I almost died in 1994, due to complications in surgery and have had health issues ever since, at times not able to get out of bed. Currently I am doing well. I have lost jobs and had financial struggles for years. I have lost homes, cars, and stuff. I do have a great husband, but that has not always been the case. Thank you God, I have not had to experience losing a child or grandchild! However, as this is being written I have a grandchild that is going through some major health issues.

I say all of this not to get pity or attention, but to say I know what it is like to go through things and struggle with my heart and attitude. It’s not easy! It’s never easy! Jesus even struggled with this and it’s through reading about His struggles and others that I am able to persevere, so that is what I would like to share with you today. Ultimately Jesus is the greatest example of surrender and there are many times that I go back to the cross to get through the day.

However, in this study I want to look at Job. I have recently learned that for some people Job is very depressing, so this study might not be for you. For me, Job is very challenging and inspiring. To find out why, keep reading.
Surrender means-to yield (something) to the possession or power of another; to give (oneself) up to some influence, course, emotion, etc.

I). Do you surrender to the power of God or act as if you are more powerful?
A). Job 1:1-5
1). Job was blameless and upright.
2). He feared God and shunned evil.
3). He made sacrifices for his children just in case they had sinned.
* I think it is safe to say that Job had a very healthy understanding of the power of God. Do you realize that this is God saying these things about Job, not Job speaking of himself? In verse 3 the Bible says that Job was the greatest man among the East. Yes, it is possible for wealthy people to be humble and fully depend on God. As you will see, if you choose to read all of Job, he understood that everything he had (he had a lot) came from God and if God choose, He could take it all away.
B). Job 1:6-12
1). Satan approaches God.
2). God ask Satan if he had considered His servant Job?
3). God gives Satan permission to test Job.
*Wow! This is so intense! Picture this, God is hanging out doing whatever He wants and some angels show up, which I am sure is the normal thing around God, but Satan shows up with them. Maybe this is a normal thing as well. It appears as if God and Satan have a conversation like you and I might have.

Translation (mine of course)-
God: So Satan what have you been up to?
Satan: Oh just going back and forth looking for someone to attack.
God: I see. Well have you considered my servant Job, he is blameless and upright?

Wait just a minute! God just said that Job was blameless and upright, so doesn’t that mean that life should go smooth and easy? Why would God purposely subject Job to heartache and trials if he was blameless and upright?
C). James 1:2-4
1). The testing of my faith produces perseverance.
2). Perseverance is necessary so that I can be made complete and lack nothing.
D). Hebrews 5:7-10
1). Jesus cried out to God with shouting and tears.
2). He was heard because of His reverent submission.
3). Jesus learned obedience through His sufferings.
4). Through this He was made perfect.
*These Scriptures are a whole study by themselves. Go for it!
In Job 1:9-11, Satan basically says to God that Job is blameless and pure because God has allowed everything to go his way. There are so many things to be said here, but keeping in mind that this study is meant to be an appetizer I will try to limit myself, so that you can go develop your own convictions.
Jesus, himself had to go through trials and suffering in order to learn how to be obedient. What? I thought He was just born obedient and perfect. This is not what my Bible says. The testing of Jesus’ faith produced in Him perseverance and that was necessary for Him to lack nothing and become perfect in order to be the ultimate sacrifice for you and me! I truly believe that if we can get this in our brains and hearts, we would look at our trials and sufferings in a different light.
On August 3, 1994 I went in for a routine hysterectomy. Twelve hours later I was having my third major surgery and a vascular surgeon was saving my life. The original doctor cut a major artery or vein in the first surgery and didn’t know it. I had to have 11-13 units of blood (I don’t remember exactly, my mom probably does). I was in ICU for two weeks. I literally could not turn myself over in bed for days. I learned to appreciate the simplest of things.
I was twenty-nine years old and had four kids from age twelve to one and half years old. It took me over a year to be able to function normally and through all of that I developed fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. I remember waking up after the third surgery and the first thought in my head was; Wow! God has this much faith in me to allow Satan to attack me in this way and He believes that I will stay faithful through it. Trust me, I don’t always respond this way, but this my goal.
It is such an incredible honor to have the Creator of the universe have faith in me! Please let this sink in! I personally believe that there are many reasons that we go through trials and I do not claim to know all of them, only God does! Maybe one of them is to get us to turn to God and seek a relationship with Him. Maybe it is to test our faith. Maybe it’s to make us perfect. More great studies! Maybe it’s because God is super proud of us and knows that we can handle it and through our righteous response He helps someone else become a Christian. You see, we don’t see. God does! He has the Big Picture and we have to get to a point where we are surrendered to His power and His plan!

II). The attitude in which we should surrender.
A). Job 1:13-22
1). Job loses everything.
2). Job has a righteous response.
*Before we even get to chapter 2, Job loses his oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels, servants, sons, and daughters. What does Job do? Feel sorry for himself and have a pity party, no he falls to the ground and worships God……. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21 NIV) What would your response have been? I think I am safe in saying that this would not have been my initial response. Even the thought of these types of things happening to me do not bring about that kind of response, much less actually going through it all.
One of the most convicting Scriptures ever, verse 22; In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. (Job 1:22 NIV) My natural response, anger that God would allow this to happen to me! Having said that, as I described above, I have had a couple of victories where my heart has responded righteously. God deserves a righteous response every time, all of the time no matter what the trial is! I have to fight for this and I am calling you to fight with me.
B). Luke 23:34
1). Jesus is being crucified.
2). He asks God to forgive them.
*Another verse that is a very challenging scripture. (There are a lot of them) Jesus has been beaten beyond recognition and now hung on a cross to die. His response, God please forgive them. Okay think about this for a few minutes. Here you are, you have been beaten more than you can even imagine, spit on, made fun of, mocked, and now you’re being murdered by being hung on a cross. You look at the people that are killing you and you say, God please forgive them for they don’t understand what they’re doing. I have heard of disciples actually doing this while being raped or attacked. If you are one of those people, you rock and you call me higher!
For those of us who have made Jesus Lord of our life, this is the standard! No excuses, no watering it down, no ifs, ands, or buts about it! We were called to follow Jesus in everything! Please don’t misunderstand this; I am extremely challenged right now. I am not even close to arriving. I feel like I have fallen so far from having this mindset and attitude during my current trials. So in all honesty, I am writing this study for me and simply sharing it with you.
C). Job 2:1-8
1). Satan has another conversation about Job with God.
2). God gives Satan permission to cause physical pain to Job as long as he spares his life.
3). Satan afflicts Job with painful sores all over his entire body.
*This is really hard teaching and it’s not mine, it’s God’s. It is very hard to accept and understand! I think one of the first things that we have to accept is that, we will never fully understand, because we are not God! Remember He sees the Big Picture! His goal is to have a relationship with us and to spend eternity with us!
D). Job 2:9-10
1). Job’s wife offers no support.
2). Job’s wife tempts him to curse God.
3). Job responds righteously.
* Are emotions leading you or is God? It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, we all have different levels of emotions and some of us tend to be led by them more than others. However, it doesn’t matter because allowing our emotions to lead us the wrong way even one time, does not glorify God.
Here are two examples of what I am talking about. Remember Job’s wife had just lost everything as well. The children that she had given birth to were all dead, not to mention all of their possessions and wealth were taken away. Then her husband is struck with boils all over his body. It is so painful that he is scraping his skin with rocks and she is watching this. She wants it all to stop and responds through her emotions. His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9 NIV) I believe that she understands God’s power, because she knows that God could stop it. What she is lacking is trust in God that He knows what He is doing and total surrender to God’s plan. She doesn’t have a clear picture of who God is.
Then we have Job’s response; He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. (Job 2:10 NIV) Enough said!

III). How do I surrender?
A). Job 38-41
1). God speaks!
*Please! Please! Take a few minutes and read these chapters and then read them again! This is our Father!
B). Romans 8:1-39
No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:39 NLT)
*I cannot even begin to put into words what I am thinking and feeling right now and do God justice! God is absolutely amazing! If you read the chapters in Job where God is speaking and do not feel total awe and amazement toward God you might need to check your pulse to see if you are alive or go read them a third time and then a fourth and fifth time. Then read Romans 8 that talks about how much God loves you!
The Creator of the universe loves you so much that He has not held anything back in an effort to show you how much! Do you realize that the world could have been black and white with no colors or beauty? We would not have known any difference, but our daddy wants to please us and give us amazing things to see. He wants us to feel and know how much He loves us everyday! Have you ever stopped to count how many shades of green there are? How many different species of animals? Thought about the fact that the ocean is like a whole other world under the water? He created the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, Niagara Falls, and on and on the list goes! God is so powerful that even the Leviathan answers to Him, whatever that is.
I hope you get my weak attempt to paint a picture here. Your Creator not only created you and everything around you, but loves you so much that He held nothing back!
How big is your god? Mine………Can handle anything!

Disclaimers;
*I am not a Bible scholar. Actually I do not claim to be much of a scholar of anything. The only degree I have is from the school of hard knocks!
*This is in no way an exhaustive study on surrender or on the book of Job, it is meant to only be an appetizer.

*The purpose of this study is to challenge us to get into the Word and deepen our convictions about being surrendered. If only one of you does this, mission accomplished.

May we always give glory to God for everything!
Dawna Cantway

Be Still!

~Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10 NIV)

~”Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalms 46:10 NASB)

~Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen; I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalm 46:10 KJVA)

~Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth! (Psalm 46:10 AMP)

~Be still, and know that I am Elohim: I will be exalted among the Goyim, I will be exalted in ha’aretz. (Tehillim 46:10 OJB)

*Well I could simply say read these different translations of this verse over and over again and let the study be done, but you know me, I do have a little bit more I want to share 🙂
Let’s start out with the Orthodox Jewish Bible, shall we? Good I am glad you agree.

I). Be still, and know that I am Elohim: I will be exalted among the Goyim, I will be exalted in ha’aretz. (Tehillim 46:10 OJB)
A). Know that I am Elohim…….
Elohim (translated “God” in English) is one of the Hebrew names used for God. It is used in the very beginning of the Bible to say that Elohim existed already and He created everything else. Elohim is a plural noun that can also refer to the various gods or the human authorities of the nations. However, here the Bible uses this noun to refer to the one true God. Please study this one out for yourself. Study it all out for yourself! I am only human and make mistakes often. I know some of you are shocked, sorry 🙂 ok back to my point.
1).The name Elohim designates God as Majestic Ruler over all.
a). Majesty means-supreme greatness or authority; sovereignty
b). Supreme means-highest in rank or authority; paramount; sovereign; chief of the highest quality, degree, character, importance, etc.: supreme courage, greatest, utmost, or extreme

*Yes I am trying to make a point here! Our Father, whom we also call Abba (daddy), is IT! He IS that and a bag of chips! He is all powerful, all mighty, all knowing, has the greatest characteristics that exist, His courage is like none other, and He chooses to be our daddy! I believe that if we truly had a clear picture of whom our Father is, we would not struggle Being Still and letting Him be God!

B)…….I will be exalted among the Goyim, I will be exalted in ha’aretz.
1). God will be exalted among the nation and all over the land!
a). Exalted means-raised or elevated, as in rank or character; of high station, noble or elevated.

*Elohim is telling us that He will be raised to the highest rank of nobility among the nations and among the earth! Do we really get that? God’s plan will be carried out! God is and always will be victorious! I know for me, having this conviction or lack of, directly effects how well I am able to Be Still.
The following are some great Psalms on praising God. For me, when I spend more time praising our Father, I have a better grasp on who He really is.
Psalms 8, 24, 29, 47, 92, 93, 95, 96, 98, 100, 104, 113, 135, 147, & 148 (The Power of Gratitude, by Gordon Ferguson)

II). Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalms 46:10 NASB)
A). Cease striving and know that I am God……..
1). Striving means-to exert oneself vigorously; try hard; to make strenuous efforts toward any goal: to strive for success. to contend in opposition, battle, or any conflict; compete. to struggle vigorously, as in opposition or resistance.
2). Cease means-to stop; discontinue, to come to an end, Obsolete. to pass away; die out, to put a stop or end to; discontinue.

*So what do we need to give over to God?
My husband and I own a residential renovation business, if we don’t go after getting work, we don’t work. There are people in my life that don’t know God yet and if I stop going after them, will they ever get to know God? Some of us may have marriages that are spiraling down, so does this mean you quit trying to fix it? Are you single and desperately want a husband, so does this mean you should stop going on dates or looking for that Mr. Right?
Maybe we don’t make enough money, so do we give up going after that promotion at work or going after an even better job? You add your own struggle in here.
Does God want us to work hard? I believe so. Does He want us to go after our goals and dreams? I desire that for my kids and God is the perfect parent. Does God want us to reach out to the lost? Absolutely. Should we have a conviction about having a great marriage and go after it? Without a doubt. Is it wrong to desire marriage? Not if that’s what you want. Aren’t we supposed to work and support ourselves and families? Yes.

III). I believe that the key word here is STILL! Just Be Still!
A). Still means-remaining in place or at rest: to stand still. Free from sound or noise; silent: to keep still about a matter, subdued or low in sound; hushed: a still, small voice, free from turbulence or commotion; peaceful; tranquil; calm: the still air.

* I have said to my husband that if he were able to be in my head for five minutes, he would freak out. I truly believe it to! You see by nature I am insecure and a huge, ugly worry wart. Trust me it is not pretty. Within a 60 second period, I can literally think of 100+ things and 99 of them are trying to figure out how to fix things or people. Such as, how am I going to get us the next job? How am I going to have enough money to pay the bills? How am I going to make my marriage better? How am I going to fix my kids? How can I help that sister get a husband? What if ______ happens? I can literally wake up from a sound sleep with a hundred things going on in my head.
How do I deal with that? By knowing that God is God and I am not! I have to take my thoughts captive and remember who God is!  (2 Corinthians 10:5) Did you notice in the paragraph above how many times I used the word ‘I’? Maybe we don’t always express that we think it’s us fixing things, but do our actions convey that?
When I choose to trust God and fix my eyes on who He is, I am able to be at peace and relax. Correct me if I am wrong, (I have no doubts that you will) but the only way that we are able to trust someone is to really get to know them, right? So, how much time each day are you spending to really get to know God? I personally do this by reading the Bible, prayer, looking around at all that God has done, being active with my spiritual family, and having great conversations about God. What are you doing?
Yes, I still do what I need to do. Such as, marketing for the business, working on my character, reaching out to the lost, but while I am doing it I have to remember that I am just an empty vessel being used by God and that His plan will be done. And His plan is always perfect! We do not have to live a stressed out life full of worry and exhaustion.

How do we practically Be Still? Great question, thanks 🙂
1. Learn who God is, so that you can really trust Him when times are hard. Study out His character. Example: (John 8) How did Jesus respond to all the different characters that were present here? Wait, didn’t I just suggest getting to know God. But isn’t this Jesus? Yes, God in the flesh. So if I study out Jesus’ character, aren’t we also learning about God’s character?
2. Find scriptures that directly apply to the things that you are trying to control and stressing out about. Post them on sticky notes all over your house, memorize them, and share them with others.
3. Sit and Be Still! Literally! Sometimes this is the most helpful thing for me. You all know by now that I love nature, so I will go sit on my porch and just listen to all of God’s animals and think about how at peace they are.                                                                                                         4. Go on a date with God, doing whatever I enjoy doing. Sometimes it’s going for a walk, sitting in my living room with a cup of coffee and a good book, even walking up and down the isles of a department store just looking at all the stuff. The key is that I mentally set it up where God and I are going to do this together, just for the purpose of hanging out!                                                5. Take a deep breathe and remind myself, God’s got this!

*Imagine this with me; you are in a boat with your best friends, husband and/or kids. You have been enjoying a great afternoon out on a beautiful lake. All of a sudden a huge storm comes out of no where. The waves are crashing in over the boat. Lightning is striking all around you. Your children are in a complete panic and the other adults are gripped with intense fear. What do you do? Look up to Heaven in the calmest voice and simply say, “God’s got this!”
(Matthew 8:23-27)

*It’s still a few days before payday and the bank account is completely empty. You have a few pieces of bread, and some left over meat. You’re hungry! The car starts making a funny sound. To top it all off the washing machine just quit. What do you do? Look up to Heaven and give thanks to God! (Matthew 14:19)

*At work today a co-worker, for whatever reason, started spreading lies about you. You thought you were actually friends with this person and now they have really hurt you. On the way home from work someone cuts you off and then has the nerve to shoot you the bird and cuss you out as they fly around you. Then upon arriving at home, your roommate has worn your favorite shirt without asking you and spilled grape juice, the dark colored kind, all down the front of it. Throws it in the washer and dryer before you get home to try and get the stain out. We know the outcome of that. You pick up the phone and call a best friend, because at this point you just need someone to talk to and she tells you to simply get over it. Not the compassion that you needed at the moment. What do you do? Get on your knees and say, “Father forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing?” (Luke 23:34)

*Please here me when I say, that I am not making light of anyone’s situation! Trials of all sizes are hard and can be very challenging for all of us! What I am challenging us to do, is to work at getting a deeper understanding of who God is and allow Him to be in control through the good and bad. Many times over the Bible says; Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Why? Maybe because God really wants us to grasp His grace (that study to come) and He really wants us to be at peace!

*Imagine one more thing with me; A day where no matter what happens, you are at total peace in your heart and mind, because you understand that your Father is All Powerful, All Mighty, All Knowing, Majestic, Sovereign, and that He Loves you unconditionally!
Psalm 4:8, 29:11, 37:37, 85:8-10

Lets all be untroubled and realize who God is, for He is superior among everyone that we know and don’t know!

Disclaimers;
*I am not a Bible scholar. Actually I do not claim to be much of a scholar of anything. The only degree I have is from the school of hard knocks!
*This is in no way an exhaustive study, it is meant to only be an appetizer.

*The purpose of this study is to challenge us to get into the Word and deepen our convictions on who God is and how He desires us to allow that knowledge to give us peace. If only one of you does this, mission accomplished.

May we always give glory to God for everything!
Dawna Cantway

Does God ever Break His Promises?

NO! From the beginning of time, God has never broken a promise! However, this is not what we are used to in our human world, because people break promises all the time. We start learning this at a very early age, because parents unintentionally do it a lot.

Example;

Johnny, “Mommy, can we please go to the park?”

Mom,” Maybe.”

Johnny, “Mommy, can we please go to the park?”

Mom,” We’ll see.”

Johnny, “Mommy, can we please go to the park?”

Mom, “I said we’ll try!”

Johnny, “Mommy, can we please, please, please go to the park?”

Moms, “Yes, just stop asking!”

Johnny, “Promise?”

Mom, “Yes, Johnny, I promise. Now go find something to do.”

Time to go the park and Johnny is all ready with ball and glove in hand. Shoes on the wrong feet and a smile from ear to ear.

Johnny, “Let’s go mommy.”

Mommy, “Oh Johnny, I am so sorry; mommy forgot that Susan was coming over tonight. We will have to go to the park on another day.”

And the pattern begins! By the time we are adults we have learned the art of making and breaking promises. As well as, we have learned that we can’t trust a promise, because they get broken. Then before we know it words are just words and our wedding vows don’t really mean anything. We are promising to be faithful and to love through the worst and best of life, but when it gets really hard we often forget those promises and bail. What about our promise at baptism to make Jesus Lord of our life, our entire life? Did we really think that one through or just make an emotional decision? Is this really a big deal? After all everybody makes promises and then breaks them. It’s just the way of the world, right?

I believe that because of how flippant we are with making and breaking promises, it really hurts us in our ability to believe God’s promises. Being able to believe God’s promises effects our faith tremendously and without faith it is impossible to please God! (Hebrews 11:6)

I.) God’s got it!

A). Matthew 6:25-30

1). God takes care of the birds of the air.

2). He created each flower that we see and don’t see.

3). God knows exactly what are needs are.

4). He will provide for us.

*Take a moment and let this absorb. Our Father, the Creator of the universe takes care of the birds and all creatures. He even decides what color a wild flower will be! If He is that detailed with the non-human things of this world, don’t you think He is involved in the details of our life as well?

B). Psalm 37:1-40

1). Vs 4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

a). God will give you the desires of your heart.

2). Vs 6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.

a). God is the best defense attorney we could ever ask for.

3). Vs 24……though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

4). Vs 28 For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones.

a). God is always faithful and will never forsake you.

5). Vs 39-40 The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

a). God is your fortress.

*I also think it is important here to throw this thought out there;

Because God is the perfect parent, He always knows best! So let’s say that you are giving Him your all and not getting the desires of your heart, why not? There were things that my kids desired and as a mom, I always wanted to please them and make them happy, but not everything they desired was good for them. If God doesn’t give us something that we desire, we need to trust that He knows best and sees the big picture!

C). Acts 36-40

1). Vs 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

a). God promises salvation for the first century Christians, for us, our grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and on and on and on as many generations are to come!

II). Is anything required of us to receive God’s promises?

*One of my goals in doing this study is to help us see that most of God’s promises come with an expectation from us in order to receive His promise. I see to many people that only focus on the promise and leave out the expectation. Again God is a perfect parent and even in our imperfection we teach our kids that with gifts come responsibilities or expectations. So why do we change the standard when it comes to God parenting us and have an attitude as if God owes us? Do you enjoy being around a child that has been given everything with no expectations from them? You know exactly what I am talking about, the ungrateful spoiled brat that has no sense of gratitude whatsoever. No one enjoys being around someone like that! Well guess what? Neither does God.

I have had many people argue this point by saying that God expects nothing from us. That He just gives because He loves us so much and that is how He is. Yes, God loves us more than we will ever be able to truly comprehend and yes, He gives because that is who He is. However, I disagree that He has no expectations from us. I realize that I am taking a huge risk here in that some of you reading this might get very upset with me. I plead with you to keep an open mind and continue to read this study and especially spend time studying the scriptures.

A). Matthew 6:25-34

*As we looked earlier, God promises to take care of our daily needs. What are the expectations from God, for us?

1). Vs 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

a). Seek first His Kingdom!

b). Seek first His righteousness!

* Another translation, Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6:33 NLT) and one more, “But put God’s kingdom first. Do what he wants you to do. Then all of those things will also be given to you. (Matthew 6:33 NIRV) Okay please correct me if I am wrong, but in every one of these versions God is telling us to seek or go after his kingdom and his righteousness (what is pleasing to him) and then He will meet our daily means.

Many times throughout my kids childhood they would want to go do something special and I would layout my expectations that needed to happen first. Such as, we will go to the park as soon as all of your rooms are clean. If they chose not to clean their room, then we did not go to the park. Yes, you may get your driving permit as long as your grades are kept up. Yes, you can get your drivers license as long as your conduct shows me that you will be responsible and that when you tell me you will be somewhere, that is where you will be.

B).Psalm 37:1-40

1). Vs 3 Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

2). Vs 4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

3). Vs 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:

4). Vs 7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

5). Vs 8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.

6). Vs 27 Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever.

7). Vs 34 Hope in the Lord and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.

8). Vs 40 The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

*Trust, do good, delight in God, commit your way to God, be still, be patient, trust, refrain from anger, turn from wrath, do not fret, turn from evil, do good, hope in God, and keep His ways! Does this describe you? Would others describe you this way? Take some time and look up the definitions of this list above. Really dig into what it means to God to turn away from evil. It’s a lot more than just not committing murder.

C). Acts 36-40

* This is the beginning of God’s church. Read all of chapter 1 & 2 to get the whole picture. Peter just got through sharing about Jesus with these people and their response was, “Please tell us what to do!”

1). Vs 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

* Yes, I believe whole heartedly that salvation is a gift from God and there is nothing anyone can do to earn it! Let’s not confuse works with obedience. Works is what I do to earn a paycheck. Obedience is abiding by the expectations.

God says to repent. The Greek word is Metanoia, which literally means to change one’s mind! This takes action on my part. What do I need to change my mind from? Well I have to study and pray to find out what God expects me to change my mind about and then do it.

Then God says to get baptized. The Greek word for baptize is Baptizo, which means to immerse. Read all the different conversions in the book of Acts. I want to go record saying, that it also takes faith to receive salvation and it is ultimately through our faith at the time of baptism that we are saved, Colossians 2:12

God also expects us to count the cost prior to making a lifelong commitment to Him, Luke 14:25-35. He is not looking for a flippant, emotional response from us! There is so much to be said on this subject, but in keeping with my commitment to you, this is only meant to be an appetizer.

I pray that you will dig in and develop your own convictions!

Father God, Thank you for always having time for us and for loving us in such an amazing detailed way. Thank you for never breaking your promises to us! Thank you for being the perfect parent to each of us and for treating us with love, patience and grace. Thank you for being a’ Just’ God and for never changing your standard. Thank you for giving us, you’re written words in book form for us to have at our fingertips. In John 12:48, you tell us that it is your very Word, the Bible that will be our judge. This shows me that you want a relationship with all of us, because you made it so easy for us to know how to live our lives, so we can please you and fulfill your expectations for us and ultimately spend eternity with you! Father, please help our hearts to be soft and moldable. Please help us to seek out your words and not settle for what others have taught us. Help us to be humble, willing to have a change of mind and actions. Help us to not hold you to our standards, but instead hold ourselves to your standard! In Jesus precious name I pray, amen!

Other Scriptures to study.

Look at what the promise is and then look at what is required of you. Matthew 7:7-12; Jeremiah 29:8-11; Psalm 50:14-15; James 4:7; Psalm 103:13-18; John 14:12-21 Take these scriptures and read the whole chapter or even the whole book and ask yourself; What is the promise? What is the expectation?

Disclaimers; *I am not a Bible scholar. Actually, I do not claim to be much of a scholar of anything. The only degree I have is from the school of hard knocks!

*This is in no way an exhaustive study on God’s promises, it is meant to only be an appetizer. *The purpose of this study is to challenge us to get into the Word and deepen our convictions on what God does promise us and what does God expect from us. If only one of you does this, mission accomplished.

May we always give glory to God for everything!

Dawna Cantway

Bold Faith

I would like to start by saying that I have been a disciple for 26 years and have considered faith a strength of mine for most of that. There have been trials of many kinds over those years and usually I turned immediately to God and believed in His plan. However, there was something different about this last year, so once again I have decided to do a study on faith. I simply want to share my study, along with some of my struggles in hopes that it might encourage at least one other person to dig deeper as well.

I). Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we have not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 NIV) *Meaning of confidence = Full Trust

A). Faith is full trust in what I hope for……….

1). What do we know about Moses’ parents?

a). Amram was the grandson of Levi and he married Jochebed.

b). They had three children. Miriam who later become a great prophetess of the Jewish people. Aaron became a high priest. Last but not least Moses, who ended up leading the Israelites out of Egypt and the one that God chose to give the Ten commandments to, among many other things. It seems that Amram and Jochebed had a faith and belief in God that they passed on to their children.

2). Exodus 1:22

a). Because God had allowed the Israelites to multiple and spread, Pharaoh feared that they would someday overtake the Egyptians, so he ordered that all male babies be killed.

b). Jochebed becomes pregnant with her third child.

*I am not sure if it was after the orders were made or if Pharaoh ordered the babies killed during her pregnancy. But what I do know is they didn’t have ultrasounds where they could find out the sex of the child, so I can only imagine her prayers. I would have been begging God for a girl and when I gave birth to a son, I might have been very tempted to doubt God. We can see by Jochebeds actions that even if she was tempted, she didn’t give into them. Instead she made a plan to try and save Moses life.

3). Exodus 2:1-10

a). She hides him for three months.

b). She gets a basket lines it with tar and pitch.

c). Puts Moses in the basket.

d). Puts the basket in the reeds in the river.

e). His sister, Miriam goes to watch from a distance.

*Now let’s think about this for a moment. The mother of three takes her 3 month old baby and puts him in a basket lined with tar and pitch. Then puts the basket in the Nile river among the reeds and walks away. Whether she tells his older sister to stand at a distance or not, I am not sure, but she is there so she can see what happens. I don’t even have time to talk about what Miriam must have been feeling. I could spend the next 10 hours telling you all of the things that could have gone wrong with this plan, because that’s how I roll. Hole in the basket, alligator food, snakes crawling in the basket, sister witnessing these things, just to name a quick few. I think it is also important to note that Jochebed did her part in preparing the basket, but then let it go and left it in God’s hands. Could you have done that? Would your faith be enough to have full trust in God and be completely surrendered?

Faith is …….assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1 NIV) *Meaning of assurance = freedom from doubt

B). Faith is having the freedom from doubt to believe in what we do not see.

1). Exodus 2:5-10

a). Pharaoh’s daughter goes down to the Nile and hears Moses crying.

b). She feels sorry for him and rescues him out of the river.

c). Miriam witnesses this and asks if she would like her to go find a Hebrew woman that can nurse the baby.

*Wow, am I ever convicted! God totally blessed Jochebeds faith and action! She not only got her son back, but she had the approval of Pharaoh and his daughter. Do you think that Jochebed had this vision or hope that something like this would happen? Can you imagine how much her faith grew after this? What do you need to put in the basket and place in the river so that God can truly bless your faith and actions?

~This might seem silly to some, but for me one thing that I need to put in the basket is my parents and their health and just watch God work.

~I also need to quit doubting! I love the meaning of assurance, freedom from doubt. Sometimes I pray and ask for things (open hearts, financial stability, to be used for God’s glory) but then I doubt if God would want to do these things in my life, not that He can, but that maybe he wouldn’t want to. Yes, by nature I am a very insecure person.

II). Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 NASB) *Meaning of assurance = freedom from doubt

A). Now faith is the freedom of doubt of things hoped for……….

1). Joshua 2:1-24

a). Joshua sends out two spies to go check out Jericho.

b). The spies end up at the house of Rahab the prostitute.

c). Verses 2-7 tells us how Rahab chose to take action to save the lives of the two spies.

* I am sure that everyone reading this understands what a prostitute is. However everyone reading this might not understand what a prostitute could feel and think. I was never actually paid for sex, but I was sexually active from age twelve. I was molested by an older brother of a boy that I called my boyfriend. I literally went from playing with dolls to having sex within a matter of a few days. This helped to create in me a very promiscuous and flirtatious behavior. Some of the feelings that came along with this behavior were shame, feeling dirty and disgusting. I felt used like a piece of merchandise, unworthy, unloved, and that guys only wanted to be around me for what I could provide sexually. I feel pretty safe in assuming that Rahab probably had some of these emotions as well and yet her house is where God chose to send the spies. Why? Because God knows our hearts!

2). Joshua 2:8-24

a). Rahab realized that these two spies were from God’s chosen people.

b). Rahab ask the spies to promise to spare her life and her family’s life.

c). Rahab provides them a way to escape safely.

* In verse 9 Rahab says, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you.” Not I think, but I know! She then goes on to talk about how they heard that God dried up the water of the Red Sea for them when they came out of Egypt, and what God allowed them to do to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan. Did you catch that? She only heard about these things, she did not witness any of them and yet she had such a great reverence for God. Do you see God working in other people’s lives and allow it to develop faith in your own heart? Because of these things Rahab understood that God was in heaven above and on earth below. Then Rahab goes the next step and puts her faith into action. Verses 12-13 “Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them—and that you will save us from death.” (Joshua 2:12, 13 NIV)

Faith is…..the conviction of things not seen. *Meaning of conviction = a fixed or firm belief: No clever argument, no persuasive fact or theory could make a dent in his conviction in the rightness of his position.

B). Faith is having a fixed or firm belief of things not seen.

1). Joshua 6:24-25

a). Rahab and her family are the only humans spared.

*Wow! Remember for a moment who and what Rahab was and really think about this. In spite of how she might have felt about herself or what others may have thought about her, she boldly asks for her and her family’s lives to be spared.

Now faith is the freedom of doubt of things hoped for….. I do not detect any doubt in Rahab for what she hoped for. I do not think that she doubted that God would or could do this for her. Like I had mentioned before there have been many times where I would ask and have no trace of doubt. However, I currently find myself either asking, but having doubts or not even asking because of doubt. It could be a prayer for God to put someone in my life that desires to have a relationship with him, but then doubting that he will really do it. I have also found myself over this last year seeing opportunities for God to use me and yet pulling back, because of the fear of getting hurt or feeling pain because it might not turn out the way that I wanted to. For example, not giving my heart to others and truly investing myself and helping other women grow in their relationship with God, because they may hurt me. Another example, it has been on my heart for at least two years to write studies such as this one, but because of my fear of how I look or maybe saying something wrong, I have ignored what I truly to believe to be from God.

Rahab had a fixed and firm belief that God, whom she had never seen, did exist and would save her and her family. Do you know the outcome of Rahab’s actions? She ends up being in the lineage of Jesus (Matthew 1) and she was mentioned in the Faith Hall of Fame (Hebrews 11). There are so many things that we can learn from Rahab. What is something that you hope for, but instantly have thoughts of doubt? Ask God to increase your faith and make a decision today to have bold faith. Then step into action!

III). Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 KJV) In the Greek language the word Hupostasis is used here. *Meaning of Hupostasis = The unseen support of what is standing in clear view; foundation.

A). Faith is the foundation of things hoped for…..

1). 1 Samuel 17:34-37

a). David grabs a lion and a bear by the hair, strikes them and kills them.

2). Verse 37

a). David gives all credit to God.

b). Volunteers to go slay the Philistine.

* I absolutely love King David. He was so very human, but yet he had such great faith and his actions backed it up over and over again. Let’s talk through this for a moment. Here is a young boy, believed to be a teenager at this time, and he is taking care of his father’s sheep. A lion shows up and grabs a sheep in its mouth. What does David do? Run, scream for help, panic? Oh no, David grabs the hair of the lion and kills it! There is no way; I would have died of a heart attack! Then we have this Philistine giant. Historians tell us that he was probably around 9 feet tall. I don’t know how that translates into how wide he was or how much he weighed, but I’m not picturing a beanpole here. David finds out that this Philistine is mocking and making fun of his God and without any doubt he volunteers to go kill him. I am so convicted right now. I am thinking of the times where I hear someone mocking or making fun of my God and I might have the thought to say something, but don’t because of fear of what they might think about me. David could have been killed, but that wasn’t even his thought process because of his faith that God would take care of him. David had a firm and fixed belief that God was there and had his back at all times!

3). Psalm 8:3-9 David writes: When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

*David looked around at God’s creation and knew that God was the foundation, the support and creator of what he saw. When you see a tall building do you question whether or not there is a foundation that you cannot see? I am going to assume no. However many times we look around at all of the incredible beauty surrounding us every day and still question the power of God, the Creator of it all. What is the foundation of your faith in the things that you hope for?

B). Now faith is the proof of things not seen.  Meaning of evidence = proof

* Have you ever stood at the ocean and watched the waves come in and out? How do they know when to stop?

* Have you ever seen a mountain goat climb the side of the mountain that is almost at a 90° angle?

* Have you seen the birth or given birth to a baby? Have you ever really looked at a baby, their tiny little fingers and toes, thought about every thing that just took place to create this little human being from the moment of conception?

* Have you watched someone truly fall in love with God and seen their heart flourish and grow? Marriages become happy or even reunited? A person that is depressed, insecure, or hopeless become hopeful and at peace?

I challenge you to stop and take a look around. Go outside look at the sky, look at the trees, and examine the petal of a flower. Go to the mountain, go to the ocean, simply take time to look around and then ask yourself, “Is God worthy of my full trust?” “Is God powerful enough to justify me throwing away my doubts?” “Do I have a fixed or firm belief in the existence of God and all that he is?” “What are the things that I hope for and what is my foundation behind them?”

Disclaimers;

*I am not a Bible scholar. Actually, I do not claim to be much of a scholar of anything. The only degree I have is from the school of hard knocks!

*This is in no way an exhaustive study of faith, it is meant to only be an appetizer. As I stated in the beginning, I am simply sharing my thoughts with the hopes that one other person might read this and be inspired to dig deeper in the Scriptures in order to deepen their own convictions.

May we always give glory to God for everything!

Dawna Cantway