Casting your Cares on Jesus

By John David Hicks

 “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7 NKJV).

When I picture this verse I see myself with a big scoop shovel and a big pile of dirt and gravel; scooping it up and casting it into a wheelbarrow. Peter is talking about the continuous act of scooping up all your cares and throwing them on the Lord.

“He cares for you” literally means that it matters to Him about you.  Peter is talking about anxiety.  Corrie ten Boom said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.”  Paul told the Philippians in 4:6–7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” That’s it; take it to the Lord in prayer.  Leave it there—don’t pick it up again.  The Lord is willing to be responsible for the things you are anxious about.

When a care comes, cast it on Him.  The Lord wants you to adopt this lifestyle.  Why?  Peter gives the answer— “for He cares for you.”  The Lord is the One who Loves you, cares and gave His life for you; He is the one who is asking you to cast your cares on Him.  You can be confident, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things” (Romans 8:32).  The Lord is genuinely concerned for your welfare.

When you are going through problems and difficulty, the Lord wants you to know that you are never alone because He is with you; He promised that He will never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)  You are the object of His love, thus, “He cares for you.”  Confess it out loud.  “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary” (Psalms 107:2).

Pastor Elisha Hoffman worked with the “down and out” people in Benton Harbour, Michigan.  One day he visited a mother who was needy, in sorrow, afflicted with great pain and in the depths of despair.  Oh how he wanted to help her.  All of the scripture he quoted she knew, but did not lift her spirits.  Finally, he reminded her, “You need to tell Jesus all about your problems.”  Her face brightened.  She had forgotten this simple truth and started repeating the words, “Yes, I must tell Jesus.”  On his way home those words kept ranging in his ears.  He then penned the words and the tune to the hymn, “I Must Tell Jesus.”  The year was 1894.  The hymn expresses that you not only need to go to Jesus with your physical needs but also in your temptations and responsibilities of each day. You can rest assured that he will hear you and work all things together for your good (Rom. 8:28-29).

Listen to the words:

I must tell Jesus all of my trials;  I cannot bear these burdens alone;

In my distress He kindly will help me;  He ever loves and cares for His own.

I must tell Jesus all of my troubles; He is a kind, compassionate Friend;

If I but ask Him, He will deliver; Make of my troubles quickly an end.

Tempted and tried, I need a great Savior, One who can help my burdens to bear;

I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus, He all my cares and sorrows will share.

O how the world to evil allures me!  O how my heart is tempted to sin!

I must tell Jesus, and He will help me  Over the world the victory to win.


“I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!  I cannot bear my burdens alone;

I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!  Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.”


A Bold, Shameless Prayer

By John David Hicks

In Luke 11, Jesus illustrates the prayers that God answers—with the man that needed three loaves at midnight and the widow that needed justice.  “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened” (Luke 11:9–10).

I always thought Jesus was teaching us to be persistent in prayer.  We are to keep on asking and begging God until He gives in and answers our prayer.  However, in my reading this week, I found another interpretation.  The Greek word anaideia has been incorrectly translated “persistence.”  Because anaideia is a negative word, the translators did not want to apply it to God.  Anaideia refers “to people who have no proper sense of shame and willingly engage in improper bold conduct, freely disregarding all commonly accepted social norms.”  Anaideia is used when a person’s actions are rash, insolent, reckless, disorderly, crude, self-willed and obscene.  We see that bold, shameless conduct with the man at midnight, the widow with the judge and even God doing it.

Jesus is not teaching you to be persistent in begging God, but to be bold and shameless in coming to God in prayer.  If the sleeping neighbor and the unjust judge respond to this inappropriate behavior, how much more can you approach a gracious and loving God without hesitation?   Jesus is not encouraging repetitive prayer but patient prayer.  A long delay may come, but be patient and hang in there.

Thus, Jesus asks a question in Luke 18:8, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”  Many struggle and lose their faith when God is “slow” to answer.  Like Abraham our faith is being tested while we are waiting for the answer.  Will your faith prevail in the face of apparent unanswered prayer?  Prayerlessness is proof of unbelief.  But prayer is the utterance of faith. We wait because of God’s timing, not because of God’s neglect (Luke 18:7).

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened” (Luke 11:9–10). The emphasis should fall on the future tenses: “it will be given, you will find, it will be opened” is God’s guarantee.

In Verse 1, Luke tells us why Jesus gave us this teaching on prayer. “Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart.” Faith, in Scripture is understood as faithful endurance that prays while waiting (Heb. 11).  If you come to God boldly, even when your conduct is shameless, God will always hear and respond.  Your needs will be met.  Don’t hesitate to bring all your requests to God.  Whatever your question, ask it.  Whatever your need, present it.  When it seems inconvenient, when it looks impossible, come and ask.  You will always be heard, because you are always loved.  Persistence, confidence and faith come when you know you are praying in the will of God.

Verse 11-12, “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?”  Jesus assures you that God hears you and will give you what is best for you (1 John 5:14-15).  In the garden Jesus asked that the cup of suffering would be taken away, but the will of God was the cross, so our salvation could be complete.  God’s love is hidden in the Cross because truth that is lodged in an apparent contradiction is only revealed by faith.  Faith sees the character of God and surrenders to the unacceptable. “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.” (Heb. 5:8–9). By dying, Jesus faced death like all of us.   For He “has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.  Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:15–16).

Verse 13, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” The Holy Spirit is God’s highest gift (1 John 4:4). Therefore, you can trust God to provide for all your lesser needs as well.  Your prayer will be answered in the will of God, “which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2).  God will act out of honor for His name and out of His love for you.


The Blessing and Curse of Compromise

By John David Hicks

Is compromise a “dirty” word? How often are we told not to fall victim to compromise? But, in some situations, compromise does have its place. The dictionary defines compromise as a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by opposing claims or principles; by give-and-take a person changes their demands.  Compromise is based on give and take. The neighborhood kids decide to play baseball first and go swimming later. You have beef for dinner tonight and chicken tomorrow night. Compromise does give each person the satisfaction of thinking that they got at least part of what they wanted.

Where we need to be careful is in the distinction between compromise that is expedient and compromise that harms our integrity. Sometimes we think that our political opinions and other beliefs are principles that cannot be compromised, when really they are just our ideas on some matter. Our current politicians need to hear that there is a difference between compromising your opinions and compromising your principles.

To be in relationship at times demands compromise.  In your interaction with people, it’s natural that you’re not going to be in agreement with them on everything. A judicious compromise can restore peace to a relationship. But when your principles are compromised, the peace is a short-lived achievement.  In the world today, whenever there is conflict, compromise is suggested.

Some things can be compromised without affecting your character, but there can be no give and take when it comes to moral principles.  You end up giving, but not taking.  Moral principles are the foundation of your character.  To compromise your convictions is to surrender to the flesh and the devil.  God does not compromise moral principles and neither should you.  Your behavior is governed by your principles. When you live in harmony with them, you have peace; when you violate them you have war. Guilt comes from knowing what is right, but doing what is wrong.

On the Mount of Olives Jesus said to his disciples, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He then withdrew, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”  (Luke: 22:40-42).  He then found his disciples asleep in verse 46: “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

God is Love, good and all-powerful.  God is personal and relational in nature.  He has given human beings the freedom of choice, even though the choices men make have introduced pain and evil into our world.  For love to be real, it must be possible to choose against it. Because of free will, many of God’s promises are conditional and dependent on human response. In terms of prayer, it can be said that our prayers (or the lack thereof) do make a difference.  God has sovereignly decided to make some of his actions contingent on our requests and actions.

In the Bible, God does changed his mind, he compromise in the light of changing circumstances, or as a result of prayer (Exod. 32:14; Num. 14:12–20; Deut. 9:13–14, 18–20, 25; 1 Sam. 2:27–36; 2 Kings 20:1–7; 1 Chron. 21:15; Jer. 26:19; Ezek. 20:5–22; Amos 7:1–6; Jonah 1:2; 3:2, 4–10). At other times he explicitly states that he will change his mind if circumstances change (Jer. 18:7–11; 26:2–3; Ezek. 33:13–15). This willingness to change is portrayed as one of God’s attributes of greatness (Joel 2:13–14; Jonah 4:2).

Freedom of choice means that you are morally accountable for your actions.  That is why God says in Isaiah 1:18–19, “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD… If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land.”

In Jesus’ humanity he expressed his true feelings, and his desired to do God’s will.   Some times as Christians, there is a struggle between our will and God’s will.  Jesus understood the terrible suffering of the cross, but he willingly placed himself in his Father’s hands saying, “Yet not my will, but yours be done.”

When a person compromises their moral principles they compromise their integrity.  Jesus warned his disciples in Matthew 26:41, TLB. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”  All temptation from Satan is to compromise your moral principles.

God’s Word tells us that there are two things you must do to win over the compromise of the devil.  First, you must have some standards and convictions.  A standard or conviction starts with a commitment that there are some things you know you will not do, some places you will not go, and some things you will not say based on God’s Word. When you honor and cherish these convictions, they speak with authority. These values will win more battles over temptation than anything else. “I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Timothy 1:12 NKJV). The Lord can keep what is committed to Him.

Second, you must plan to run from the zone of temptation, or resist it. The basic rule is to get away from the source of your temptation.  If a sinful thought or desire is not dealt with immediately, it will weaken you and lead to sinful behavior. Thus, you must have a plan!  Proverbs 22:3 advises, “The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, but the naive go on, and are punished for it” (NASB).  Proverbs 4:14-15, TLB says, “Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men.  Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.”

When the New Testament talks about sexual temptation, it gives one command: RUN! Run for your life! Get out of there! No argument can win when your emotions are involved; the devil will win every time. Any movie, book, magazine, friend, party, event, Web site that puts a temptation into your mind is an open door through which you allow Satan and sin into your life. If you are slow to run, the temptation will catch you. The slower you go the stronger the temptation becomes. Paul said to “flee fornication” and “flee from idolatry” (1 Corinthians 6:18; 10:14). You are to flee from sin.

Sin can be conceived in just a few seconds in temptation. Your sinful desires will impregnate your action and give birth to sin. Sin always causes something in you to die, whether it is physical, emotional, or spiritual. The wages of sin is always death (Romans 6:23). In the garden, Satan told Eve that she wouldn’t die and people today still believe that lie. Yet Eve’s innocence died, her marital harmony died, and her relationship with God died.  Titus 2:11-12 KJV says, “For the grace of God…teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled and godly lives in this present age.”

Remember how Joseph overcame temptation. He refused his master’s wife’s solicitation to “Come to bed with me!” Joseph said, “How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” He had some standards and convictions and RAN.  “But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house” (Genesis 39:6-12).  When you run, run toward God. “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:7).

God has a Blessing for the person that will not compromise.  Isaiah 33:15-16, TLB. “He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil—this is the man who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. His bread will be supplied, and water will not fail him.”

Ephesians 4:27, TLB reminds us, “And do not give the devil a foothold.”  Someone has said, “In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win.”  When you compromise with evil, only evil wins. That is the Curse of Compromise.


Condemnation Kills!

 “The letter (the law) kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor. 3:6).

 By John David Hicks

The Garden of Eden had two trees that Adam and Eve could choose to live by. They chose to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, although God had forbidden them to eat of it.

That tree was an example of living in the flesh, living in self-centeredness. Like Satan, when you live in independence of God, you try to live by your own power. It is about your performance. The fruit or seed of this tree is self-righteousness, condemnation, and death. This tree is also the representation of the knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong, or the law. When you break the law, it confronts you and condemns you. For a law to have power there must be consequences when you break it. Condemnation kills. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). The harvest of this condemnation is death in your body, soul, and spirit.

The law helps us understand a broad framework of what it means to be the people of God. The Jewish people loved the law because it pointed to what it meant to live in the world and bring God’s peace (Shalom) into the world. The law of God is perfect and shows us our need for a Savior. Paul called the law “the schoolmaster that leads us to Christ.” It shows us what sin is, that we are a fallen race that needs a Savior.

When we disobey the law of God we feel guilty. There is a difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is when a person feels bad for something he has done wrong. Shame comes when we think we are horrible for committing the sin; that we are a bad person. Shame is not what God wants us to feel. He convicts us with our guilt but does not shame us. Guilt is a healthy part of what it means to be human. We all need to own up to our sins and mistakes and repent of them. People who do not experience guilt are called psychopaths and are in serious need of mental health care.

So “good guilt” will drive us to change and make us better human beings. Life is such that we ARE punished for our sins and failures by the consequences of our sins and failures. There are things that we SHOULD feel guilty about. However, shame from Satan or through others will condemn us and enslave us and is self-destructive.

It is important for every Christian to be able to tell the difference between condemnation from Satan and the conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit. One will destroy you; the other will build you up. Here are the differences in a nutshell:

(1) The conviction of the Holy Spirit is always specific, pointing to a specific sin or attitude that God seeks to remove or change. The condemnation of the enemy is always vague and general, condemning you as a person but never calling you to repent about a specific sin.

(2) When the conviction of the Holy Spirit is moving on us, we always feel drawn back to God or closer to Him. Condemnation makes us feel like pulling or even running away from God.

(3) The conviction of the Holy Spirit always feels like love and has the fragrance of life. The condemnation of Satan feels like rejection and smells of death.

(4) Conviction produces hope in us—hope for freedom from sin, hope for fellowship with God, hope of eternal and unshakeable salvation. Condemnation produces despair and the desire to give up.

Satan as the accuser uses the law to condemn you and to destroy you (1 John 3:8). The power of sin is the law. But when the law has humbled you by showing you your sin and failure, God can then offer grace. Grace is God’s unmerited and undeserved favor. Grace is God’s gift to you because of what Jesus did on the cross. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17). The finished work of Jesus Christ redeems you and sets you free from condemnation.

When God forgives you, you are no longer under guilt, punishment, and condemnation for your sins. He then gives the gift of righteousness. If you don’t accept this gift, Satan will attack with condemnation.

A pastor in California tells of a young man who came to Christ for forgiveness of sins, but could not give up smoking. He felt it was wrong and sinful. He tried and tried to stop, but the more he tried the more he failed. He suffered great shame and condemnation because of smoking. He attended classes on how to stop smoking. The pastor tried to tell him that he was too hard on himself. But he felt like a total failure as a Christian.

Condemnation will put a cloud over your life and you will soon feel suffocated to the point where you just want to die. It will leave you living in embarrassment and fear. The devil will have you believe that you are worthless, vile, ugly, filthy, and unworthy of love—even God’s love.

This young man felt that the only way he would be worthy of forgiveness was to be “perfect.” He did not allow himself to make mistakes or fail. This became so unbearable that he wished he could die. The struggle simply to live was too great. One day he threw himself in front of a car. In the hospital, family and friends tried to reach out to him, but when he got out, he took his life by jumping from an eight-story building. Condemnation killed him.

In our zeal to clean up our own lives or the lives of others, we unfortunately use “killer soaps”—condemnation, faultfinding, and criticism. We think we’re doing right, but our harsh, self-righteous treatment gives place to condemnation.

  1. God wants you free from condemnation.

The Bible says, “By the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20). When you have the knowledge of the law, you will be aware of your own sin. Don’t think of the law as doing right from wrong because God did not give us the law for that purpose. God gave us the law to show us that we cannot measure up; we need a Savior.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). If you are in Christ Jesus and forgiven of your sins, then there is no condemnation because Jesus redeemed you and paid the price for ALL your sins. You are justified (just-as-if-I-didn’t-sin) before God.

When a woman caught in the act of adultery was brought before Jesus, the Scribes and Pharisees tried to trap Jesus by asking: “Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do you say?” (John 8:5).

Jesus began to draw in the sand, and He answered, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (John 8:7). The Scribes and Pharisees began to leave one by one till none of them were left. The people in the crowd who wanted to condemn the woman could not. But Jesus, the only one in the crowd who truly had the power to condemn her, would not. He then asked her, “Has no one condemned you?” (John 8:10).

She answered, “No one, Lord” (John 8:11).

Jesus then spoke grace into her life. “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8:11 nkjv).

When she received the gift of no condemnation, then she had the power to “go and sin no more.” When your focus is on your sin, you are more likely to repeat it.

Grace is God’s gift in redemption. It comes out of God’s love, goodness, and mercy. It is unmerited and undeserved. It’s all about Jesus’ finished work and not man’s efforts. God has given you the gift of no condemnation, so that you can “look unto Jesus and He can author and perfect your faith” (Heb. 12:2).

  1. The devil’s main weapon against you is accusation, faultfinding.

“Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death’” (Rev. 12:10-11).

Satan is Hebrew for “prosecutor at law”—the accuser, faultfinder. The role of a prosecutor in a court of law is to condemn you, the accused. The prosecutor never talks about your good points. He will bring up all the dirty laundry and ruthlessly accuse you till you feel condemned.

In Revelation 12:10, the announcement from heaven in a loud voice is for you to recognize Satan as the faultfinder, the accuser, the prosecuting attorney. The only place where you find NO condemnation is in Christ Jesus.

“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1 nkjv). When Jesus rose from the grave, He became your advocate, your lawyer. But unlike earthly lawyers, Jesus went through great sufferings for you and gave His life so that you can be reconciled to God and receive His blessings. “You are accepted in the beloved” (Eph. 1:6).

As your advocate before the throne of grace, Jesus defends you and guarantees that all the benefits of the cross are yours. He assures your salvation, healing, and deliverance.

When the devil tries to convince you that God is angry with you when you blow it, just say, “God does not condemn me today because 2,000 years ago He judged my sins at the cross.” God’s righteousness is not only imputed to you, but also imparted. We are righteous!

God can justly declare you innocent and completely righteous because of what Jesus did at the cross. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). God is simply being faithful and just to what Christ has done.

God wants you to see yourself as righteous. When you sin or fail, remember that Jesus’ blood continually cleanses you from all sin (1 John 1:7). When the Lord sees the blood, the death angel of judgment and condemnation will pass over you. But you must apply the blood over the doorpost of your life.

The devil knows you are forgiven, washed in the blood of Jesus. All your sins are washed away; there is no record of them. So why does he continue to condemn you?

BECAUSE THIS IS HIS MAJOR TACTIC. His weapon of condemnation works on most people. The devil cannot enforce the curse apart from condemnation. He cannot defeat or kill you apart from condemnation. So you have to cooperate with him to receive condemnation.

Let’s return to Revelation 12:10 for a reminder of what God did to Satan: “For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.” The devil who is the “prosecutor at law” against God’s people has been cast out of heaven. God does not want to hear his faultfinding anymore. When you understand that Satan has no power to accuse, then “the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ will manifest in your life.”

Hear it! Satan has been kicked out of the court of heaven; he has been disbarred. He has no right to practice law in heaven. But on earth if he can get you alone and get you to think that you are not in Christ, he will find fault with you and will whisper in your ear: “How could you do that? How can you call yourself a Christian?” Condemnation is so subtle, especially if you are a person who believes in doing what’s right. That is why condemnation usually goes undetected.

Continue to do what’s right, but do not respond to the accuser. When you choose not to respond, he cannot condemn you. Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil (1 John 3:8). Satan has no right to condemn you.

THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL HELP YOU. “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit will “comfort” and guide you back to the cross every time you fail. The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to bring conviction, NOT condemnation.

The Holy Spirit convicts of three things: “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged” (John 16:8-11 nasb).

The Holy Spirit convicts the world (not you) of sin. Why the world (verse 9)? “Because they do not believe in Me,” says Jesus. It is the unbeliever who is convicted of sin. What sin? Unbelief in Christ. It’s not their sins (plural), but their chief sin—their failure to trust Christ as their Savior. Even if they stopped sinning, they still would have a problem with unbelief. Without faith in Christ there can be no relationship.

The Holy Spirit convicts you (the Christian) of righteousness. Why are Christians convicted of righteousness? Because, Jesus said in the Gospel of John, “I go to My Father and you no longer see Me.”

The Holy Spirit seeks to convince us of that reality of the cross. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). When Christians sin, the Holy Spirit causes us to “walk in the light…and the blood of Jesus Christ keeps on cleansing us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). We will fail. We will give in to temptation. We will sin again. However, God assures us that His love remains consistent and asks us to keep walking with Him.

It is humbling to be reminded of our weaknesses and shortcomings. Yet God does not condemn us. No, He continually woos us back into relationship with Him. He asks us to get back up and walk in His strength. The Holy Spirit convicts you that you are righteous, and guides you into righteous living.

The Holy Spirit convicts Satan (not you) of the judgment. You can be convinced that the ruler of this world has already been judged and has nothing on you anymore. God promises you, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Heb. 8:12). Satan is judged, not you. The only thing the Holy Spirit convicts you of is your righteousness in Christ.

  1. You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).

This gives you confidence to boldly go into God’s presence (Heb. 4:16). The Bible says, “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame” (1 Cor. 15:34 nkjv).

The more you are righteous-conscious, the more you will speak, think, and act like a righteous person. Right believing always leads to right living.

The devil has been disarmed at the cross. God took his weapon—the law—and nailed it to the cross. “Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Col. 2:14-15 nkjv).

The Lord has triumphed over the devil and all his demonic principalities and powers. The victory is already yours through the finished work of Christ at the cross. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1 nkjv).

The only place you find NO condemnation is in Christ. The word “therefore” refers to Romans 7, where Paul talks about being condemned by the law. The reason he now has NO condemnation is that our sins have been punished and condemned in the body of Jesus Christ at the cross.

“So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God” (Rom. 7:4). Like a wife is no longer married to her husband when he dies, so a Christian is no longer under the law because of Christ’s death on the cross.

When you believe you are righteous because of the cross, it will change you. It’s not your self-effort that makes you righteous, but believing that you have been made righteous through Jesus Christ.

  1. This righteousness causes you to reign in life.

“For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men” (Rom. 5:17-18).

Paul says if you can explain how by one man’s sin—Adam’s sin—we all became sinners, then you can explain how by Jesus Christ’s obedience we all become righteous. Under Adam you inherited the results of sin, condemnation, bondage, and death. Under Christ you inherited righteousness, peace, joy, and life.

It is the obedience of one Man, Christ, and not your obedience that has made you righteous. In Hebrews 10, Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away our sin. In the Old Testament the priest examined the lamb to see if it was without spot or blame—not the person bringing the sacrifice. If the offering was acceptable, he was forgiven for a year, an annual reminder of his sins and need of a Savior. But now “we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (verse 10). This was a perfect, eternal sacrifice for “those who are being made holy” (verse 14).

That is why God wants you to seek first His righteousness—“and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33). Again, this righteousness is not right behavior. It is right standing with the Father. Your freedom from all guilt, shame, and condemnation lets you stand in the presence of God. No condemnation is God’s gift to you (Rom. 5:17).

To “seek His righteousness” is to be conscious of the fact that you have His righteousness. But you must confess, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ” (2 Cor. 5:21). In righteousness you can come boldly to the throne of grace and receive freely everything that Jesus died to give you. You are meant to reign in life through God’s abundant grace and the gift of righteousness.

  1. The gift of righteousness lets you know that you are loved, accepted, and anointed.

“And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’” (Gal. 4:6 nkjv).

God was never known as “Father” until Jesus came to earth and revealed Him as such. In His prayer to His Father, Jesus said, “And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:26).

Now, what name was Jesus referring to? It was the name “Father.” If there was anything close to Jesus’ heart, it was to introduce God as Father to us.

Jesus said, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’… For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (Matt. 6:31-32 nkjv). He also said, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him” (Matt. 7:11 nkjv).

Jesus wants you to always have one image of God in your mind—that He is your Abba, Papa Father. Why? Because He wants you to know that there is nothing more important or too insignificant for God when it concerns you, His child.

A friend of mine took his wife and two-year-old son to the market. The child was fussing, and the father tried everything he could think of to quiet his son. Finally, holding his son close to his chest, he began to sing an impromptu love song to the boy. “I’m so glad you’re my boy, you make me happy…. I like the way you laugh…. I love you.” The song did not rhyme and was off key, but the little boy calmed down. Back in the car on the way home, he said, “Sing again to me, Daddy. Sing again to me.”

God desires to take you into His arms, to hold you close to Himself and sing His love song over you. “I love you. You are my child, forgiven, cleansed, and reconciled. You are accepted, made righteous, with no condemnation.” The Father’s grace transforms us. His gift of righteousness converts your heart and gives you eternal love and acceptance.

Remember the old hymn:

Grace, grace, God’s grace,

Grace that will pardon and

 cleanse within;

 Grace, grace, God’s grace,

Grace that is greater than all our  sin. 

God wants you free from condemnation. The devil’s main weapon is faultfinding. You are the righteousness of God in Christ. This righteousness causes you to reign. You are loved, accepted, and anointed. “You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 2:1).


A Prophetic Word for You!

By John David Hicks

Isaiah 50:4–5, “The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary.  He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back.”

“Just as you have left the whole burden of your sin, and have rested on the finished work of Christ, so leave the whole burden of your life and service, and rest upon the present in-working of the Holy Spirit.

“Give yourself up, morning by morning, to be led by the Holy Spirit and go forth praising and at rest, leaving Him to manage you and your day.  Cultivate the habit all through the day, of joyfully depending upon the obeying Him, expecting Him to guide, to enlighten, to reprove, to teach, to use, and to do in and with you what He wills.  Count upon His working as a fact, altogether apart from sight or feeling.  Only let us believe in and obey the Holy Spirit as the Ruler of our lives, and cease from the burden of trying to manage ourselves; then shall the fruit of the Spirit appear in us as He wills to the glory of God” (Author unknown).

“Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (Ephesians 5:17).


A Prayer from my Wife

By John David Hicks

After my birthday, my wife gave me this prayer:

Lord, you know me better than I know myself, that I am getting older and someday will be old. 

 Keep me from getting talkative, and particularly form the fatal habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.

 Release me from craving to try to straighten out everybody’s affairs. 

 Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details.  Give me wings to get to the point.

 I ask for grace enough to listen to the tales of others pains.  Help me to endure them with patience.  But seal my lips on my pains. They are increasing and my love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. 

 Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally it is possible that I may be mistaken. 

 Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a saint… some of them are so hard to live with… but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. 

 Make me thoughtful but not moody; helpful but not bossy.  With my vast store of knowledge and wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but you know, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end.

 In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.

 “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry’ for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (James 1:19-20). 


A Powerful and Effective Prayer

By John David Hicks

“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).

James says the foundation of a powerful and effective prayer is based on righteousness.  When you know, you are right with God, right with others and right within, there is boldness in living and boldness in your prayers. With a clear conscience, you can enjoy life and have no fear of death. This is the confidence of faith (1 John 5:14-15).

Tony Campolo in his book The Kingdom of God is a Party says: “A Christian is not simply a person who accepts some biblically proven propositional truths about who Jesus was and what He accomplished in His death and resurrection; it also involves a subjective decision to surrender to Jesus and to allow Him to invade one’s personality. Becoming a Christian means being permeated by the presence of Jesus. It is to allow this Person who is alive in the world and is as close as the air that one breathes to be inhaled and enjoyed.”

You may want to read my article under articles on my web site, “Enjoying Life! The Secret of Contentment.”


A Personal Prayer for Today

From John David Hicks

Pray this prayer with me:

Dear Lord, I thank you for friendship and the opportunity to pray one for another.  You have revealed yourself to me in power and your greatness in many ways.  Your love to me has been an everlasting love of faithfulness and forgiveness.  For this, I am grateful. 

You said that the “peace of God will govern your heart as I trust in you.”  Minister your mercy and grace to me in the conflicts and struggles of life.  Build me up, so that Godley character can be revealed.  Heal me, so that I can comfort others.  Refresh my soul, so I can give confidence others.  I seek your blessings, so that I may bless others.  Open doors of ministry for me today, so I can share your love and grace that I have experience with others. 

Thank you for my family; watch over each one with your protection and guidance.  As you prayed for Peter, I pray for them that “their faith will not fail.”  And, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

 Let righteousness reign in our nation.  Help our leaders, from the President to the courts to acknowledge you, so you can “direct their path.”   I pray for peace in our world.  I pray for my church and its leaders that you will help them to minister your word and keep them from harm.

 I love you because “you first loved me.”  It is your love that motives me. Thank you for your promise that “nothing can separate me from your Love.”  You have declared that, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it.”  Thus, I worship you in spirit and the truth of your Word.

I pray this in Jesus Name; Amen & Amen.


A Revelation Prayer

By John David Hicks

 O Lord, you remain faithful, even when I have been faithless. You long for my fellowship, even when I have neglected you.  I praise you that your love is everlasting and your faithfulness is so unfailing.  You are the ancient of days and yet you are so new every day.  You live within me, yet I have failed to acknowledge your beauty and at times admit your presence. Your light chases away my blindness.  You have cried aloud and forced open my ears to hear.  Your fragrance causes my breath to pant after you.  I have tasted and do hunger and thirst for you.  Your touch has brought me peace.  I worship you with all my senses.  –Amen

 Paul prayed for you: “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.  And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way” (Ephesians 1:17–23).

Abiding in the Life of Christ

By John David Hicks

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

The vine is the source of life, strength and fruit.  Abiding brings the branch into relationship with the vine.  The branch is completely dependent on the vine for life-giving nourishment.

By abiding in Christ you partake of His very nature (2 Peter 1:3).  This is the deepest relationship any human can have with God (John 17:3, 10).  “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20 NLT).

A branch draws all its life and nourishment from the vine.  As a branch you a part of the Vine, Christ—but Jesus makes it plain that if you don’t abide in His love and His Word—then you will be fruitfulness, withered, and dead spiritually. You will be cast aside.  The purpose of the branch is to bear the life of the vine.  That is where the fruit comes from.  Your faith-trust relationship is totally dependent on the vine.  Your growth and fruitfulness is based on how much nourishment you receive from the vine.

How do you abide in Christ?  1) Be conscious of His presence at all times.  2) What affects you affects Him, so share your life and struggles with Him.  3) As you receive daily His love and Word, you will be strength and bear much fruit.  You are the object of His love, grace and goodness.  When you enjoy Him as a person, the fruit naturally comes.  “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples…  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:8, 11).

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book entitled “How to Live on Christ” states, “How does the branch bear fruit? Not by incessant effort for sunshine and air; not by vain struggles for those vivifying influences which give beauty to the blossom, and verdure to the leaf: it simply abides in the vine, in silent and undisturbed union, and blossoms and fruit appear as of spontaneous growth. How then shall the Christian bear fruit? By efforts and struggles to obtain that which is freely given; by meditations on watchfulness, on prayer, on action, on temptation, and on dangers? No!  There must be a full concentration of the thoughts and affections on Christ; a complete surrender of the whole being to Him; a constant looking to Him for grace. Christians in whom these dispositions are once firmly fixed go on calmly as the infant borne in the arms of its mother. Christ reminds them of every duty in its time and place, reproves them for every error, counsels them in every difficulty, excites them to every needful activity. In spiritual as in temporal matters they take no thought for the morrow; for they know that Christ will be as accessible tomorrow as today, and that time imposes no barrier on His love. Their hope and trust rest solely on what He is willing and able to do for them; on nothing that they suppose themselves able and willing to do for Him. Their talisman for every temptation and sorrow is their oft-repeated child-like surrender of their whole being to Him.”

This is the “abiding life in Christ.”  Out of your dependence and surrender comes the strength and fruitfulness of your life.


A Master of Warfare

By John David Hicks

A master of the history of warfare, George Patton has been called the greatest general of World War II.  When a German senior officer was captured toward the end of the war, he remarked, “General Patton is the most feared general on all fronts. The tactics of the general are daring and unpredictable.  General Patton is always the main topic of conversation.  Where is he? When will he attack? Where?  How?  With what?”  General Patton won more battles, took more territory, captured more prisoners and had fewer casualties than any other army general.

Patton was a master of the history of warfare. When Patton faced the German forces under the command of General Erwin Rommel, Patton is reported to have shouted in the thick of the battle, “I read your book, Rommel! I read your book!” And he had. In Rommel’s book Infantry Attacks, he had carefully detailed his military strategy.  Patton, having read it and knowing what to expect, planned his moves accordingly and won.

We also have read about Satan’s plans in God’s book; so we “are not unaware of his schemes.” (2 Cor. 2:11). Jesus said that Satan has come to steal every promise, kill your body and destroy your relationships, but He came that we may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10). Now we can be prepared for spiritual battle.

God could have defeated Satan in the beginning, but he selected mankind to do it.  1 John 3:8, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” Jesus has won the victory. His body, the church, is commissioned to expand God’s kingdom by storming Satan’s stronghold and “the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matt. 16:18).  The “gates of Hades” represents everything that resists God’s loving will for the earth.  The church is the vehicle for finishing the work Jesus began. That is why we are called the “body of Christ” (Rom. 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 12:12-27).

According to Paul Billheimer in Destined for the Throne, our prayer life determines our place of ruler ship in God’s kingdom. Jesus’ victory on the cross won the legal right and authority over all that was lost in the fall.  Satan is defeated, but God has given the enforcing of this victory over Satan to His church, to you and me. Satan will not give up any of his rights or authority until you, the church, enforce Jesus’ victory.

Like the early church, we need to be bold in our prayers and in our witness. “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus” (Acts 4:29-30). “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus” (v13). “Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (v18-20).

The Lord has promised, “On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them… Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. (Mark 13:9-11).  “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

God has given us a very powerful weapon to overcome Satan in Rev. 12:11, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” Not only is it Christ’s victory, but the authority of your testimony that will win the battle. A lack of boldness to confront the enemy in the power of the Cross means you have no authority in your testimony. Your faith is feeble.

Paul says that the answer to prayer and witnessing is that “the love of Christ is what compels me” (2 Cor. 5:14). Your faith in God is the source of that victory. In 1 John 4:4, John explains, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” Let’s boldly by faith take our world for God!  “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).


A Letter to a Devastated Christian

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” (Colossians 2:6).

 by John David Hicks

My dear brother in Christ,

Your question about hearing the voice of God has more to do with the assurance of your salvation than it does with divine guidance. Both the Old and New Testaments emphasize that “the just shall live by faith” (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17). Your faith is based on the trustworthiness of God’s Word. Trusting God’s Word during a time of devastation or solitude in your life will build that relationship. So hang in there and trust God’s Word.

Here is the key to God’s abiding presence: “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16); “…those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17).

Because God is love, only those who know they are loved and by faith have received the gift of righteousness can live in the presence of God. Satan’s temptation to Jesus and to you is to doubt that you are loved and accepted. “If you are a child of God,” he says to you, “prove it.” God has said to you that you are His beloved son. “To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6 nkjv). In Ephesians 3:19, Paul prays that you may “know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit” (John 15:16).

Our part is to abide (John 15:5).  Abiding brings the branch into a loving and accepting relationship with the vine. The branch is completely dependent on the vine and because of that is made righteous and fruit comes forth. Jesus said, “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love” (John 15:9 nasb). “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).  Thank the Lord that you are loved, accepted, and held fast in His abiding presence. Be aware of it. “Keep yourselves in God’s love” (Jude 21).

Like Jesus, you don’t have to prove you are a child of God. Jesus’ answer to the devil’s temptation was based on faith in the Word of God (Luke 4:4). The assurance of your faith is not the absence of adversity. It’s knowing the presence of Jesus in the midst of your circumstances and that is only experienced by faith.

Your prayer for divine guidance starts with the fundamental understanding that God will speak to you. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27 nasb). Jesus promised in John7:17, “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” God will bear witness to His will. By faith you have the assurance that God will speak to you.

When I speak on this subject, people have asked me, “How do you recognize God’s voice?” I answer them: When my phone rings and I answer it and it’s my wife, I don’t have to ask, “Who is this?” I recognize her voice because I know her so well. You recognize God’s voice the same way. Because God is love He will communicate with you. When you get to know God’s character, you’ll know His voice. Jesus made it clear that to hear His voice and follow Him was a matter of relationship. The sheep cannot follow the shepherd unless they hear his voice. According to scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments, that’s the way sheep relate to the shepherd:

“The sheep listen to his voice.  He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice” (John 10:3-4). “He who belongs to God hears what God says” (John 8:47). “God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful” (1 Cor. 1:9).

“For he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice…” (Psalm 95:7-8). “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you” (Psalm 32:8).

Throughout history Christians have said that when God speaks you will have the confirmation of two witnesses: peace and conviction. This is a knowing or conviction and peace in your spirit.

Paul speaks of this conviction in Romans 9:1, “My conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit.” James 1:6 also confirms this knowing in your spirit. Jesus says that peace is the witness of the Holy Spirit (John 14:27). Philippians 4:6-7 also suggests that we are “…not [to] be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard (umpire) your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Wait quietly as the Spirit guides your thinking with spontaneity that is without effort and unplanned. Enlightenment, illumination, and revelation will come as you wait on the Lord. “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13 nasb).

You may also explore the discipline of journaling. For example, this is a discipline of writing down what God is speaking to you. When this “God communication” takes place, you will find that it will be verified by Scripture, your own spirit, and through the confirmation of other Spirit-filled brothers and sisters. Out of the mouth of two or three witnesses, let every word be established (2 Cor. 13:1). This gives accountability in two ways: in discerning the fact it really was a word from God, and it keeps me accountable to actually doing what I have discerned I am to do in obedience to God’s Word.

I thank Him for speaking and for the opportunity to personally ask Him more questions. With a paper and pen I write down the impressions that God has put in my heart. God told Jeremiah, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you’” (Jer. 30:2). “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart” (Proverbs 3:3). As you write down the impressions the Lord gives you in your journal, you will become more responsive to God’s voice.

David says in Psalm 68:19, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation!” (nkjv). If you are not experiencing God’s blessing daily, you must be loading at the wrong dock.




By John David Hicks

 “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?  “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder” (James 2:14, 17-19).

In the New Testament’s original language, faith means “conviction or persuasion” about something. The word action or works or deeds in the Greek means “corresponding action” that responds to your conviction or persuasion or what you say or demonstrate you believe.

If we insert the words [conviction or persuasion] for the word faith, and the words [corresponding action] in the place of deeds, we will clearly understand what faith means. With this working definition of faith, let’s read James 2:14-17:

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have [conviction or persuasion] but has no [corresponding actions]? Can such [conviction or persuasion] save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, [conviction or persuasion] by itself, if it is not accompanied by [corresponding action], is dead.”

James says your faith can be living or dead, depending on your corresponding actions. Living faith has conviction or persuasion plus corresponding actions. Dead faith has belief, conviction, or persuasion, but no corresponding actions. It is lifeless and powerless. Every reference to faith in the New Testament is talking about living faith, never dead faith.

“But someone will say, ‘You have [conviction or persuasion]; I have [corresponding action].’ Show me your [conviction or persuasion] without [corresponding action], and I will show you my [conviction or persuasion] by my [corresponding action]. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish man, do you want evidence that [conviction or persuasion] without [corresponding action] is useless (dead)? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did [corresponding action] when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?” (vv. 18-21).

Abraham was justified—made righteous—not by what he believed, but by his corresponding actions to what he believed.

“You see that his [conviction or persuasion] and his [corresponding action] were working together, and his [conviction or persuasion] was made complete (mature or finished) by his [corresponding action]. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend” (vv. 22-23).

Abraham’s faith was fulfilled when his conviction or persuasion met up with his corresponding action. He is made righteous and the friend of God because of his faith.

“You see that a person is justified (or made right with God) by what he does and not by [conviction or persuasion] alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for [corresponding actions] when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?” (vv. 24-25).

Rahab’s corresponding action completed her faith.

“As the body without the spirit is dead, so [conviction or persuasion] without [corresponding action] is dead” (James 2:26).

The body plus the spirit is required for life. When the spirit leaves the body it is lifeless, powerless, and dead. Likewise, belief, conviction, or persuasion is dead without action. It takes corresponding action to put life and power into your conviction or persuasion to make it faith.

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 nkjv). God’s revelation in your heart brings faith. You don’t get faith by asking God for it. Using our definition: “So then [conviction or persuasion plus corresponding action] comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Faith comes when you comprehend what you are hearing.

When John Wesley could not receive faith for salvation, his brother Charles told him to “preach faith until you get faith.” And it worked.

You only have faith when what you have heard becomes what you are hearing. “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith” (Hebrews 4:1-2). What you hear must be combined with conviction or persuasion plus corresponding action.

Let me illustrate this. Let’s say God puts it on my heart to teach or preach on the “Power of Blessing”—how God wants you to bless your children, others, and your enemy. You are moved by the Holy Spirit and say to your spouse, “Yes, we need to bless.” After the service, you tell me that God spoke to your heart—that is [conviction or persuasion]. The seed of God’s Word has the power to transform you. As you obey with [corresponding action] the Holy Spirit and put the seed-word into practice, it becomes a part of your experience to transform you.

But if in the next few weeks you do not have any [corresponding action] to bless your children, others, and your enemy, then that seed-word will be taken by the devil and the power that could have transformed you will be lost.

Yet, there is a greater tragedy. The truth is not taken from your mind, but it’s locked in. You believe it; you have [conviction or persuasion]. But because you did not have [corresponding action] to put it into practice, it has no power. It locked you into a form without power (2 Timothy 3:5), without a true faith. The next time you hear someone talk about the “Power of Blessing,” you say, “Amen, people need to bless their children, others, and their enemy. Boy, these people sure need to hear this.” You are not the example of the word that was preached, but you sure agree with it. Your faith cannot transform you; it is dead and powerless, like a body without the spirit, says James.

I can point to people who would fight to the death to defend the doctrine of ministering to the poor, but they never minister to the poor. Others believe in being filled with the Holy Spirit with the power to witness, but they never witness. Others believe in healing, but they never pray for the sick.

When your learning is intellectual, you are insulated from personal experience. You can know the Scripture by memory, but if you don’t apply it, the truth is powerless. When passion and desire are gone, there will be no personal transformation.

Jesus sums it up: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines’” (Matthew 15:8-9 nrsv). The truth got into their mind but not into their heart. The heart and soul of religion is to recite facts and principles. The result is knowledge without power—religion without God.

Christianity is not religion, tradition, or a program; it is a person. Faith comes from a relationship with God. Paul said, “I know in whom I have believed,” not what I have believed (2 Timothy 1:12). God cannot be separated from His Word. He is the truth that must be experienced and encountered. “Blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice” (Luke 11:28 nlt). That is how you experience faith.

(For more see the article under articles on my web-site, “God’s Kind of Faith”).


A Confident Faith

The devotional book, “Streams in the Desert,” has a powerful story about a confident faith.  This is a summary.

“Have faith that whatever you ask for in prayer is already granted you, and you will find that it will be” (Mark 11:24).

A Mrs. Rounds tells of her son that was ten years of age when his grandmother promised him a stamp album for Christmas.  Christmas came, but no stamp album, and no word from grandmother.  The matter, however, was not mentioned, but when his playmates came to see his Christmas presents, his mother was astonished. After he had named the gifts he received, he added,

“And a stamp album from my grandmother.”

She had heard it several times, when she called him and said, “But, Georgie, you did not get an album from your grandmother. Why do you say so?”

There was a wondering look on his face, as if he thought it strange that she should ask such a question.  He replied, “Well, mamma, grandma said, so it is the same as.” She could not say a word to check his faith.

A month went by, and nothing was heard about the album.  Finally, one day his mother said, to test his faith, and really wondering in her heart why the album had not been sent,

“Well, Georgie, I think grandma has forgotten her promise.”

“Oh, no, mamma,” he quickly and firmly said, “she hasn’t.”

She watched the dear, trusting face, which, for a while, looked very sober, as if debating the possibilities.  Finally a bright light passed over it, and he said,

“Mamma, do you think it would do any good if I should write to her thanking her for the album?”

“I do not know,” she said, “but you might try it.”

A rich spiritual truth began to dawn upon her.  In a few minutes a letter was prepared and committed to the mail, and he went off whistling his confidence in his grandma.  In just a short time a letter came, saying:

“My dear Georgie: I have not forgotten my promise to you, of an album.  I tried to get such a book as you desired, but could not get the sort you wanted; so I sent on to New York. It did not get here till after Christmas, and it was still not right, so I sent for another, and as it has not come as yet, I send you three dollars to get one in Chicago. Your loving grandma.”

“As he read the letter, his face was the face of a victor. “Now, mamma, didn’t I tell you?” came from the depths of a heart that never doubted, that, “against hope, believed in hope” that the stamp album would come. While he was trusting, grandma was working, and in due season faith became sight.

It is so human to want sight when we step out on the promises of God, but our Saviour said to Thomas, and to the long roll of doubters who have ever since followed him: “Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed.”

Why Pray?

Why Pray?

By John David Hicks

“Prayer does not make any difference,” was the atheistic professor’s thesis at the University of California at Berkeley. He would prove it scientifically. The study would focus on people who had suffered a heart attack. After a person received emergency care at San Francisco area hospitals, doctors would ask: “Is anyone praying for you?”

After more than 2,000 interviews, more than 80 percent of the people who said that someone was praying for them recovered more quickly than those who said no one was praying for them. The professor was upset and reworded the question. Again, more than 80 percent of the people who said people were praying for them recovered more quickly than those who said no one was praying for them.

On a TV talk show, the professor said he did not believe in prayer until this study, and he defined prayer as sending out good, kind, loving “vibes” into the air. If the whole world would contemplate and think “peace,” he said, we would have peace.

“But how do you explain that more than 80 percent of the people who say that someone was praying for them got better quicker than those who said no one was praying for them?” the show’s host asked.

“I don’t know,” replied the professor. “All I know is, if I ever have a heart attack, I would want all the people out there to pray for me!”

When you see the value of prayer, you will pray as you ought.

Based on God’s grace and mercy, prayer is God’s invitation to ask for help. “Call to me,” the Lord says, “and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3). Note the command to call, to ask. Go to the sovereign of the universe, the source of everything, and talk to Him. He promises to answer. “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22).

The heart of prayer is to know and commune with God. His passion and values can come no other way.  “You do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:2). “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).