Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Tag: faith

Believe

More and more, I’m coming to the conclusion that believing God is the most important thing we can do. It’s more than believing on Him – for salvation. Or believing in Him which may not have any impact on your life.

Believing God. Beth Moore, in her book Believing God, has five statements that I’ve found useful to speak aloud regularly. It helps me to think aright about God and myself, and faith rises up in me as I speak them out.

I believe that God is who He says He is.
I believe that God can do everything He says He can do.
I believe I am who God says I am.
I believe I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
I believe His Word is alive and active in me.

Without faith, it’s impossible to please God. Which means that faith pleases Him. Jesus loved it when He found someone with extraordinary faith in Him in the gospels, and He commended those people. I want to be someone who has extraordinary faith in my God.

Jesus said that for everyone who believes in His name, He gives the right to become a child of God. That’s utterly astounding. It means putting our trust in His faithful character and staking everything on Him being who He says He is.

I’m not sure whether I’m really expressing what’s in my heart. But believing God – truly holding fast to Him because He is steadfast love and faithful and righteous – is the greatest honour we can do for Him. And I think the more I believe God, the more I will grow towards extraordinary faith in Him. Because it will impact my life more and more. How could it not?

Rahab’s Journal: Faith

I admire that young Ruth. Naomi told me that Ruth insisted on leaving her own country to come with her mother-in-law. It seems that Ruth, too, has put her faith in the God of Israel. She said that Naomi’s God would be her God, and that she wanted to live and die among Naomi’s kin.

Ruth is doing everything in her power to help Naomi practically too. They don’t seem to have two coins to rub together, but Ruth is a hard worker. Every day has been out to Boaz’s farm, gleaning the grain at the edges of the field left behind by the harvesters. She even asked permission. Boaz has told Ruth not to go to anyone else’s farm- it can be dangerous for a pretty young woman to be out in the fields with the men. Not all are honourable and Boaz was concerned that she might get taken advantage of on another farm. His father brought him up well and I’m proud of his kindness.

The more I hear of Ruth, the more I like her. She is a fine young woman and I’d love to see her get married again. I wonder if that son of mine has noticed her? Lord, open his eyes so he can see what’s in front of him.

Rahab’s Journal: Forgiven

What a week. I don’t quite know what to make of it, really. At least we’re all safe and together, me and my family.

Not long after the spies escaped, we saw the Israelites camped outside Jericho. The king closed the gates and prepared for a siege. There was an odd stillness in the air, as if the very presence of God was here. Quite unnerving.

One week ago today, we heard trumpets blowing. My dad and brothers and me ran up onto the roof of my house to see what was going on. What a sight met our eyes. The Israelite army marched along followed by seven priests blowing trumpets, sunlight glinting off the instruments. Behind, was the famous and much-feared Ark of the Covenant as their rear guard.

Aside from the trumpets, there was absolute silence. Not one of the soldiers spoke. It was eerie.

Although I’m a grown woman and a prostitute, I felt for my dad’s hand and held it fast.

‘You’re sure the spies will keep their word, Rahab?’ he said.

‘If they are like their God, they will,’ I replied. I slipped downstairs and double-checked the scarlet sash was visible in the window.

For six days, the same thing happened. The army marched around the city walls once in silence, with the seven priests blowing the trumpets.

Everyone in Jericho was terrified. I wished they would listen to me so they could be safe too, but they continued to pray to the useless gods of Jericho for salvation.

This morning, the army and the priests with their trumpets and the Ark of the Covenant walked in silence around the city walls seven times. I noticed some of the soldiers looking up at the scarlet sash in my window, and my heart beat fast. I was certain something was about to happen.

As they completed the seventh lap, the army let out a great shout. And – I’m still shaking from the shock of it – the huge, thick walls of Jericho went crashing to the ground as though something powerful had struck them.

At once, the two spies I’d hidden, came looking for me and my family. They took us to safety, to their camp.

As I’m writing this, I’m overwhelmed with the enormity of it. My mum can’t stop crying, it’s all been a bit much for her. I know how she feels. The whole city wall collapsed, just like that. But my house and the part of the wall it was built on stayed standing.

The only thing I’m sure of right now is that the God of Israel is my God. I reached out to Him in faith and He heard the cry of my heart. I know I am forgiven, and I’m determined to leave my life of prostitution behind.

 

 

 

 

Grow

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord,
you must continue to follow Him.
Let your roots grow down into Him,
and let your lives be built on Him.
Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught
and you will overflow with thankfulness.

When we feed something, it grows.

When I eat food, especially now I’m in middle age, my tummy grows. Sad but true! But when I exercise, my fitness level increases so that I can do more exercise. Hopefully, if I keep running, my muscles will develop and my tummy will stop growing. Hopefully….

It’s the same with my spiritual life. These verses urge me to keep following Jesus.

How do I do that?

I need to put down roots in Jesus. That means learning more-and-more to rely on Him, to be settled in Him. I want to get to know Him well and the only way to do that is by spending time with Him like I would any friend. My Bible is full of Jesus: His character, what He does, what He likes and doesn’t like. When I read it and pray, my roots are growing .

Building my life on Jesus is being secure in Him and in who He says I am. He gives me the freedom to be the person He made me to be.

And then I find that my faith grows as I get to know the truth. Jesus said that the truth sets free, and it really, truly does. When I think of how much Jesus has done for me it brings a huge smile to my face. I do overflow with thankfulness.

YEEE HAAAAH! YAY JESUS!! WHOOP!

Let me finish with a story.

When I was thirteen, my parents and I went on holiday to the Norfolk coast. It was a last minute booking because my dad had just come out of hospital. Amazingly we found a chalet near the beach that was available.

Hmm. It had been closed up all winter and we were the first people in. It hadn’t been cleaned. And it was full of spiders. Big, small and every size in-between. There was a monster under the kitchen table that even my dad wouldn’t tackle. They were literally everywhere.

Somehow we stayed in that horrible chalet for a week.

But I came home with a fear of spiders. It got so bad that I wouldn’t enter a room without quickly checking out floor, ceiling and walls first. I almost crashed the car when I spotted a tiny money-spider on the rearview mirror.

I had secular counselling which helped a little.

But the fear was still there. I never even prayed about it because I was scared of not being afraid. And if I’m honest, I didn’t think God could handle it anyway. Not even He could do the impossible, could He?

Three years ago, God stepped in. I was going through prayer counselling and He set me free from fear.

The result is that last Monday, my mum had a biggish spider in her kitchen that I was calmly able to deal with. No hyperventilation, no screams, no shaking.

This is truth: God’s perfect love casts out fear. My roots are in Jesus and I’m building my life on Him. My faith in Him is growing. The truth is setting me free and I’m so grateful.

Have

What do I have?

A magnificent friend who adores me and can do anything.

Since knowing Him, my life has changed almost beyond recognition. I’m not the woman I was a few years ago.

Then, I didn’t think God was willing to heal today.

Then, I wasn’t sure what He had to offer other people. I wasn’t even sure what He had offered me.

Then, I had little confidence in myself and amoeba-sized faith in God if you squinted very hard through a microscope.

I’m thankful to say that that is changing 🙂

God has healed me from cerebellar ataxia and ME/chronic fatigue. I had one significant breakthrough when friends prayed for me ten months into the illness, and Jesus completed the healing four months after that, just me and Him in my living room. I have confidence that God is willing to heal today.

I know my God offers Himself to other people, just as He has done to me. That gives me confidence in telling them about my wonderful friend.

My faith is now fractionally bigger than amoeba-sized. I’m trying things I’ve never done before. Let me tell you a story.

When I started helping at my church’s food bank three years ago, I was too scared to offer to pray with clients if they were ill or in pain or feeling low. My team leader gently encouraged me and for weeks I longed to offer but was too scared. Then one afternoon with my team leader eye-balling me across the room, I finally plucked up the courage to offer prayer. The client accepted and I prayed. Probably not well, but I did it. From then, offering to pray into difficult situations became more normal for me.

Right up to this afternoon at our church’s community Easter Party in the local pub. I prayed for healing for a lady with a chronic illness. She sensed God’s peace as I prayed. We’ll wait to see the outcome.

It feels good, taking baby steps of faith and going on an adventure with Jesus.

All because I have a magnificent friend who adores me and can do anything.

 

Power

I’m being challenged by the verse ‘the Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power‘.

I come from a belief system that was good at talking about God but He wasn’t ever expected to show up in power. I didn’t really believe miracles happened anymore. Thankfully, God proved me wrong by healing me a few years ago.

We need to talk about Jesus because faith comes by hearing. But the telling should be accompanied by signs and wonders, by God revealing His power personally to people.

This is something I want to grow in. That takes guts. And faith. I think it’s going to be a case of going for it and not being afraid of looking an idiot, but being someone that God’s power can flow through to touch others and bring them into His Kingdom.

 

My Hero

I will be eternally grateful for stepping into Arnold Road Boys’ Club that night in 1984. Don Baker – one of the leaders – was just a regular guy. When I first met him, he was working at a local pit in Nottinghamshire. After that, he became a school caretaker. As far as I’m aware, he didn’t have an outstanding education, a theology degree or any formal evangelism training. But he had a story of how Jesus had changed his life – and a real enthusiasm for sharing it.

Don was the first person to tell me the good news of Jesus Christ – me and many others!

The thing with Don was, he didn’t just tell us about his faith, he lived it out. He became a family friend and I know that he prayed for me regularly for many years. It was probably getting on for ten years after first meeting Don before I finally submitted my life to Christ. Throughout all that time though, Don kept in touch, kept inviting me to church, and kept praying for me (he and his wonderful wife, Janet). Eventually, his endeavours paid off.Dad Youth Hostelling

The true impact of his investment may never be truly known this side of eternity. There is a ripple effect, a greater legacy to Don’s commitment of time, prayers, faith and persistence. As a result of Don sharing his story of God’s grace with me, my parents became Christians and my own children are growing up in a Christian home – and I hope will themselves one day live for Christ. In addition, there are many in my workplace that I have shared my faith with, who may not have heard the gospel message had I not been there.

The ripple effect from Don’s faithfulness can be multiplied many times over in many lives.

All this is a result of one man who simply had a story of how Jesus had met him and changed his life, and was willing to share it with those around him.

Don presents a challenge to all of us who claim to be Christians. We have a story to tell. Are we willing to share it? Then we, too, will leave a legacy of amazing proportions that will have a ripple effect stretching into eternity.

Andy HamillAndy Hamill

© 2020 Mandy Baker Johnson

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑