Faith or Presumption?

millionaireAs children of God, we are free to ask Him anything we please and once we ask, we can hope He will give us exactly what we’ve asked for. But to believe He will do something He has not promised to do is not faith; it is presumption! I fear that much of what is passed off as faith today is really presumption.

If I sent you an email inviting you to my home for dinner, I wouldn’t include such statements as, “I have perfect faith you are coming! I know you will be here! I am claiming your arrival! By faith, I am announcing to all my friends you will be here!” On the contrary, I would say things like, “I hope you can join me; I would like to have you; please check your schedule.” I would be foolish to believe you were coming until you told me. Once you called me and confirmed the date, I could have faith you were coming, but not a moment sooner. Why? Because you told me you would be here; you made a commitment to come; I received a promise to hang my faith on. And if you don’t show up, my disappointment would be justified – you broke your promise.

Disappointment with God usually stems from confusion over the meaning of faith. Most people who are disappointed with God misunderstand what faith is. To them, faith is some sort of power or force. They think if they have enough faith, God will do whatever they ask Him. So when a crisis comes along, they try to move God into action through their faith. When God doesn’t respond, they become disappointed. Their misunderstanding leads to unrealistic expectations, and their expectations eventually lead to disappointment.

There was a time in my life when I was disappointed with God. I felt as if He had let me down because He didn’t answer my request as I desired. It’s not unusual for people in this situation to stop reading their Bibles, stop attending church, and stop praying. In some cases, their disappointment turns to anger and even bitterness.

The first reason for confusion in the area of faith is because we want to be in control. We want God to do our bidding. We don’t want to submit to His will; we want Him subjected to ours. We don’t really want God to function as the Lord of our lives; we would rather have Him operate like a vending machine (we put in a little faith and He sends out whatever we think we need). But God doesn’t operate that way. To approach the Christian life as if He does is to set ourselves up for disappointment.

Faith is not an escape hatch from all the trials and tribulations in this life. Faith is not a lasso we slip around God’s neck to force our will on Him. Faith is not a button we push to prod God into action. Rather, it is confidence God will do what He promised. That’s what all those men and women in Hebrews 11 were commended for.

The second reason for confusion in the area of faith is incorrect interpretation of James 1:6-7 and Matthew 21:21-22. Some of us think it says, “God will give us whatever we ask for provided we have enough faith and believe He will grant our requests.” But that is not what the Bible says. We are not told God will give us $1,000,000 or a new car or a better salary if we just have enough faith. We are not given a promise from God for unlimited access to anything and everything we want.

On the contrary, James writes, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God” (James 1:5). Whenever we need “wisdom,” we can pray to God and He will generously supply it. We don’t have to grope around in the dark, hoping we will stumble upon answers. To those who lack wisdom, this valuable resource is readily available to guide our choices.

God’s provision, however, has some prerequisites. To receive God’s wisdom in trials, we must ask in faith. To “believe and not doubt” means to not only believe in the existence of God, but also believe in His loving care. This includes relying on God and expecting He will hear and answer when we pray. God does not grant every thoughtless or selfish request, so we must have confidence God will align our desires with His purposes (Psalm 37:4). Receiving wisdom from God depends on our faith in Him.

The third reason for confusion in the area of faith has to do with the foundation of faith. Most of us tend to judge God’s interest and involvement in our lives according to what is happening around us. When things are going well – our health is good, our finances are solid, our family gets along – we are quick to praise God for His faithfulness. But when things take a turn for the worse, we often doubt. We ask, “Where is God? Has He forgotten me? I thought He loved me!” We make the mistake of drawing conclusions regarding God’s faithfulness based on what is happening at the time.

The writer of Hebrews warns us against this deception. His original audience made the same mistake two thousand years ago. Their situation, however, was a bit more severe than anything most of us will ever face. He was writing to a group of Jewish Christians who were being persecuted for converting from Judaism to Christianity. Their persecution was so intense that they began to doubt whether they had made the right decision. God wasn’t honoring their faithfulness in any tangible sort of way. On the surface, it looked as if He had abandoned them. They were judging His love and concern for them on the basis of what was happening around them. Consequently, some abandoned the faith.

However, we never, regardless of our circumstances, have any reason to doubt God’s promises to us. The primary support of our faith is not what is happening now, but what happened two thousand years ago on the cross. Jesus demonstrated His faithfulness to us in a way that far surpasses bailing us out of unpleasant circumstances and answering a prayer or two the way we want. The fact He died on the cross for our sins settles the question of His love for us. The fact He rose from the dead settles the question of His reliability. God’s concern for you has nothing to do with the circumstances surrounding you right now. That question was settled a long time ago. By faith, you can have confidence God will always do what He has promised!

Read more here: Back to the Basics: A Guide for Christian Living.

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About Pastor Joe Quatrone, Jr.

Pastor Joe has been serving in Christian ministry for 15 years. He desires to nurture and disciple believers, helping them experience a deeper level of commitment and faith in the Lord. He is the author of "Back to the Basics: A Guide for Christian Living." Through a commitment to servant leadership, he proclaims relevant Bible truth, equips the saints for effective ministry, and builds up the body of Christ. Married eleven years, Pastor Joe and his wife live in New Jersey and have two children.
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204 Responses to Faith or Presumption?

  1. Jane Sadek says:

    My husband was in Iraq for a year as a translator. I begged everyone I knew to pray for him, because I believe prayer is powerful, but I didn’t kid myself. My strong handsome man could have come home to me in a wheelchair or a coffin – and it wouldn’t have been because God wasn’t listening to me. What I really prayed for was God’s perfect will for Bill’s life -and for strength and grace for me to deal with whatever happened. One of the harder things to deal with was the craziness of Christians. I had all these people “claiming” this and that for Bill – and where would their faith have been if I’d lost my beloved. Bill came home. Our life together is sweeter and our faith is stronger for our year away from one another. Bill’s health and life is a gift God saved just for me, not a “right” that I “claimed” because I’ve unlocked the magic code words of prayer.

  2. Another good blog, Joe.

    There is a name for thinking that we can manipulate God by our faith/prayers/whatever: It is called magic. Far too many Christians actually believe in magic of this sort. I remember having several discussions with believers in the US who were absolutely convinced that just adding the words “in Jesus’ name” to the end of a prayer forced God to answer it as asked!!! They had no understanding of the fact that what we are saying when we say that is not a magic formula but rather that we are standing in that situation as Jesus’ ambassadors (in the same way the police might say “in the name of the law”). As ambassadors, we are claiming that what we are asking is in accordance with the desires of the one for whom we are an ambassador–and there are serious consequences in this world for ambassadors who misuse their position, how much more for us?

  3. I do believe that it is not simply because we have faith that all things we ask for will be given as we ask…however Jesus said “Ask anything in My Name and My Father in Heaven will give it unto you”. I realize that what we ask must not be for selfish gain or for something that we know according to God ..is definitely contrary to His Word..

    What if what we are praying for we really believe God wants for us or someone we love and the answer doesn’t come? For example I believe God wants us to have a job to provide for the things we require in life. How many people in today’s economy …Christians..are praying for this?

    I know that I recently was praying for the same thing for someone close to me and when the answer did not seem to be coming ..my belief in the Lord did not waiver but I thought that there MUST be something hindering the answer…something SOMEONE did not know…It was my son for whom I was praying. Several months later he did get a job but one that is out of his field and that of his expertise. It also involves going to another country and leaving his family for 3 months or so.

    He took it because he had prayed as did I and his father and he believed that he should take it because he needed it to continue paying his bills etc.

    I wonder though…should he have taken it or waited longer to see if another opportunity came up that was more in his line of work?

    Sometimes it’s hard to know what God is saying even when we are committed Christians. At least I find this to be so.

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      I am glad your son was able to find employment. I think he did the right thing by taking the job to continue paying his bills. His story reminds me of something similar that happened to me six years ago. At the time, I had been married for three years, was a house-church pastor, student in Bible College, and part-time Youth Counselor. My wife worked at Starbucks and was pregnant with our first child. In anticipation of his arrival, we bought a second car and a house.

      Once he was born, I quickly realized how difficult it was to pay all the bills, which included a car payment, mortgage, hospital bills, student loans, and more without my wife working too! Since my wife had resigned from her job to be a stay-at-home mother and my jobs as a house-church pastor, student in Bible College, and part-time Youth Counselor weren’t paying the bills, I needed to find a better job! I sent out my resume to several churches, agencies, and companies looking for work, but was not offered employment.

      Finally, I was hired on-the-spot as a part-time clerk at a hotel. I had a seizure on my second day of work, though, and was rushed to the hospital. Now, in addition to all my other bills, I had even more medical expenses to pay! I continued to pray to God for a better job to support my young and growing family. I was willing to go wherever He wanted me to go and do whatever He wanted me to do (though, I hoped His plan was for me to be a Senior Pastor at a church).

      A few months later, I was contacted by a financial service agency in a state other than the one I lived in. I drove to two interviews and was hired as a Financial Planner (even though I lived in a different state!). My new job was way out of my field of interest and expertise, but I took it anyway because my family needed the money. It required us to move (before selling our home in Pennsylvania) and become renters from a very difficult landlord (in New Jersey) on short notice. It also required me taking accelerated finance courses and getting licensed by the National Association of Security Dealers (NASD) in insurance and investments. In all, it took about four months for me to obtain the licenses required to perform my job and earn my first paycheck, which was strictly commission by the way. It also involved paying mortgage and rent simultaneously until selling our home for $40,000 less than market value.

      To make a long story short, I was employed as a Financial Planner for three years before deciding I would no longer do it because I had received a calling into full-time vocational ministry. So my family moved back to Pennsylvania where we originally came from. I worked for an additional three years at two entry level jobs while preaching on a volunteer basis at a local church and rescue mission.

      With the support and encouragement of the church, I am now enrolled as a student in seminary and expect to graduate next year with a Masters of Ministry Degree (M.Min.). It is very possible God was moving my family and I around to mold us more into His image.

      Back to your question, “Should he have taken the job or waited longer to see if another opportunity came up that was more in his line of work?” That’s a tough question. You know his story and you briefly heard mine. I believe Jesus is crafting us more and more into His image everyday and that often requires us doing something that may appear strange (Noah built an ark in the middle of dry land, for example).

      When I think about everything I have gone through in the past six years (pain and growth), I also wonder if I made the right decisions, but then I remember the Scripture that says “a man who does not support his family is worse than an unbeliever.” I can’t give you a definite answer. As you said, “Sometimes it’s hard to know what God is saying even when we are committed Christians.” Nevertheless, I think your son made the right decision. You might want to look back at his and your life after several years. You might see the reason the Lord took him to another country and away from his family for three months. Maybe God is preparing him to be a missionary? I am unsure.

  4. One Christian Dad says:

    “There was a time in my life when I was disappointed with God. I felt as if He had let me down because He didn’t answer my request as I desired. It’s not unusual for people in this situation to stop reading their Bibles, stop attending church, and stop praying. In some cases, their disappointment turns to anger and even bitterness.” Did you read my mind? This is me a few years ago, thankfully God is Faithful even when we are not!
    Thank you for yet again a great post.

  5. Bird says:

    I love this article. This misunderstanding of faith is what I run into around here all the time, and I’ve had a front row seat to people becoming bitter and angry because they feel God let them down somehow. Like He was some kind of great ATM Machine in the sky, and all they had to do was figure out the pin number.

    And it breaks my heart.

    I guess I have the hardest time understanding why this Name It, Claim It theology has gained so much ground. Jesus was poor. He said not to lay up our treasures here on earth. His prayers indicate that we should pray for God’s will in our lives, not our’s. There literally so many things that disprove this new theory about faith, and yet it really is building an anger at God in so many Christians.

    Excellent post.

  6. I love the analogy you use of inviting someone to dinner and assuming they are coming when they haven’t replied. Someone I respect said that many Christians are actually practicing voodoo or shamanism, disguised as Christian faith. Your logic is excellent, and my response is gratitude for your honesty about this subject. Thanks for writing.

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      It never ceases to amaze me to see how often wishful thinking gets the best of us. I’m all for being positive and upbeat, but I’m a realist at the same time.

  7. Hey Joe,
    I have always been irritated by those who rely so heavily on “faith,” but not the One in whom we are to have faith. It is much like the people who cite studies saying prayer changes things. Prayer does not change anything any more than positive thinking. One could pray to a door knob, but so what? Does the door knob answer? Faith apart from He who is faithful is witchcraft, in my humble opinion.

  8. jrsorrow says:

    Good and far to may leave out the element of grace when it comes to faith.
    Without God’s grace to stand we’d many times grow weary in our faith to receive from God.
    In our early days in the WOF camp all we were taught was great faith, and heard nothing at all about God’s grace; but many times in Paul’s writings we find the two working together. “We are saved by grace through faith,” “we received our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand” as a couple of example. I put it this way one time Faith is the conduit by which God’s grace flows into our lives:)

  9. mtsweat says:

    Great wisdom here, Joe. Thanks for sharing it with us, brother! God bless.

  10. Thank you for the insightful post! Many people do not take into account the many men and women of Faith, who were praised because they believed, never having obtained the promise given them. They were praised because their faith in God and His promises remained steadfast. You are right, the key to faith is found in the understanding of the nature, name and ways of God, not in guaranteed answers that come

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      Amen! Many Christians become frustrated because their wants, expectations, and demands are not immediately met when they believe in Christ. They become impatient and want to quit. We can be encouraged by the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11.

  11. Teresa Rice says:

    It seems like some people expect God to be like a magician who can waive his wand, curing all the diseases and problems in their lives. I have to admit sometimes I am guilty of being impatient when things don’t happen the way I would like or as fast as I wish. But, then I think maybe this a part of God’s plan? We must help ourselves in order for God to bless us when we pray for this or that in our lives.

  12. Lauree Fletcher says:

    Amen! So refreshing to hear from a fellow believer who is like-minded! And I love the analogy you use, brings it home well, with love and not with condemnation.
    Blessings, brother, as you continue your journey of faith!
    And thanks for stopping by This Perfect World, would love to hear what drew you and what you like about it!

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment! I did a search on wordpress the other day for “faith,” “grace,” and “prayer.” Your blog popped up in my search and I remember enjoying one of your posts. I’ll be back for more!

  13. Dane Ladwig says:

    Enjoyed the read, very “stately” put and well articulated. I shall follow you my friend.

  14. chococatania says:

    I love this post, and I agree that there is confusion on the idea of faith.

    I believe that faith is, “…not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” (Alma 32:21). I love the last clause in this explanation of faith: which are true. The thing is – we don’t always have the perspective of what is true. We have to rely on God’s perspective. We may ask for something, and hope that it happens, but faith means that we will accept God’s will rather than only accept what we want. God’s will and His perspective are true.

    Here’s an example: Once, I went to apply for a job. I really wanted it. I prayed about it, and prayed that I would even get the job. I had faith. As I prayed, I realized something: for me to have faith would mean that I trusted in the Lord – whether or not I got the job. I had absolutely no doubt that the Lord had the power to give me that job. DUH! But what I needed to have faith in was His plan for me, not just my plan for me.

    It turned out I didn’t get the job, and it was okay. In fact, in hindsight, I know that it was better. For humans, it is hindsight that is 20/20, we forget that God always has perfect vision, and when we exercise faith, we trust in His vision – which may mean not getting what we think we want.

    Anyways – I love this post!!!

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      Thanks for your insightful comment, my friend. “We have to rely on God’s perspective. We may ask for something, and hope that it happens, but faith means that we will accept God’s will rather than only accept what we want.” We said! I agree wholeheartedly!

  15. Thank you, Joe, for stopping by The White Stone and thank you for this post! I am sharing it via FaceBook. It’s a Word in Season, a Word to help many souls, if they will heed. Blessings!!

  16. transitionscoachingcayman says:

    I will just say: excellent post. I am sure we have all fallen into the trap of asking for things that are selfish, then being angry that we didn’t get them. Thankfully God only gives us what is good for us.

  17. ssofdv says:

    Thank you for this truth. God gets blamed for too much that happens, or does not happen in our lives. He is not a puppet on a string to do our bidding. Even with abused persons, God often gets blamed for their plight – He is punishing, or it is concluded in error that the abuse is His will. I agree that we act like spoiled little children when we cannot have our way with God. Let His will and not ours be done – Amen!

    Thank you for liking my post – “HE BEATS ME – BUT HE IS A GOOD MAN!”
    Terry

  18. Joe,
    This post was worded beautifully! Another great post!

  19. Great post! Looking forward to following your blog.

  20. jelillie says:

    God’s promises are sure! The problem is we often put words in God’s mouth. Thanks for this reminder!

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      We can indeed claim God’s promises, but we can’t claim what He hasn’t promised!

  21. Becky Doughty says:

    Excellent dissection of this subject and the subtle lies that the devil would have us believe. Isn’t it amazing how quickly we WANT to believe things that are self-serving?

    God is so patient and gracious to us – I can totally relate to the apostles in the Upper Room as Jesus looks at them with unconditional love and asks, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me?”

    I just want to know Him more – thanks for sharing your heart.

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      Very true indeed! I have blind spots. The more clearly I can see my own tendencies toward sin and a narcissistic sense of entitlement the better I will be able to identify those areas in my life in the greatest need of improvement and growth. Thank God for His grace!

  22. Mystiic says:

    “Disappointment with God usually stems from confusion over the meaning of faith. Most people who are disappointed with God misunderstand what faith is. To them, faith is some sort of power or force. They think if they have enough faith, God will do whatever they ask Him. So when a crisis comes along, they try to move God into action through their faith. When God doesn’t respond, they become disappointed. Their misunderstanding leads to unrealistic expectations, and their expectations eventually lead to disappointment. ”

    Loved this paragraph the most… I smiled… a big smile… :)) Thank you for this beautiful post… I am looking forward to spending some quality time on your blog… love the content… :)) Thank you :))

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      Thank you. We can indeed claim God’s promises, but we can’t claim what He hasn’t promised! I think this truth corrects some big errors in many peoples’ mindset. Unfortunately, this faulty belief is going to disappoint many people (I used to be one of them!).

  23. Hi Joe, I found your site through Michael Cartwright’s blog. Fantastic post! I’ve learned that our Creator can always see the bigger picture. We can have faith and trust that HE knows what is best for our lives.

    “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him” (Jeremiah 17:7).

  24. Great article!! You have explained the process of faith very clearly. It is a message that people really need to hear. So many people get confused about this subject.

  25. lambskinny says:

    Very good! Thanks for sharing. God bless.

  26. Religion4All says:

    Great post! Sometimes I feel like Jonah … I hear God saying to me at times, “See, if you would have only listened to me way back when, we could have been together all this time.” It makes me feel kind of silly at times, in retrospection. I was in that whale’s belly all along … believing in God, and having what most people call “faith”, and then when I finally let go and devoted myself to God … I was spewed out of that whale’s belly to actually start living life again … a life of real faith. :-)

  27. What a terrific post Joe…so much food for thought & spiritual wisdom here! Hope you post a new article soon!

  28. Faith means to me – I am a child of GOD in Jesus Christ precious name I am important and I need not worry for GOD is going to take care of his children. Hard lesson for me to learn but I did learn it. Enjoyed your post :)

  29. Hi Joe – thanks for stopping by and liking my post! I enjoyed reading yours here too, lots of food for thought…

  30. Paul says:

    powerful insight…worth a second read…

  31. blodge1 says:

    I really enjoyed this post. It offers new insight into what having faith means. It’s so easy to see God as Santa Claus, possibly because the human nature tends to greed. ‘Gimme, gimme, gimme,’ and ‘Me, me, me’ seem to be the mantras of the masses. But this is not faith. If it were, then everyone would want to jump on the bandwagon! I, like many others, have experienced pain when we ask God for a positive outcome, but that does not follow that the outcome we requested is what we get. It takes faith to believe that the outcome of prayer is God’s lesson and bequest upon us because it is the best thing for us at that time. Yes, it is difficult to have faith sometimes. However, the Lord Himself is the author of faith in Him, and thus your comment on wisdom is most significant in this context indeed.
    Thank you also for liking my post. It brought me to your page.

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      We can indeed claim God’s promises, but we can’t claim what He hasn’t promised.

  32. Tim A. says:

    Very Good thoughts. Very inspiring, and insightful..
    Thanks for the “Like”.
    T.A.

  33. AFTER READING THIS I WANTED TO SHOUT “HALLELUJAH!” I AM SO ELATED TO HEAR SOMEONE SPEAK THE TRUTH WITH PASSION AND CLARITY. THANK YOU! I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE THIS ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE AND IN MY BIBLE SCHOLARS GROUP WITH YOUR PERMISSION.

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      Thank you, my brother! You most certainly have my permission to post this article and any of your choosing. The Lord has opened my eyes to many things over the years. Please pray for me as I am seeking a pastorate.

      • I pray that God prepares the congregation to receive His Word in You and that He prepares you for the awesome task of shepherding. I too am seeking… But I pastor ministries and ministers… so please pray for me too. Take care my brother and keep looking up!

      • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

        You have been in my prayers, brother! How are things going for you in the ministry?

  34. mybroom says:

    Hey Joe,
    thanks for dropping by, it’s great to read a blogger who has his eyes fixed on Jesus.
    Graeme

  35. Carey says:

    Great post. I love the point about faith not being a lasso around God’s neck. HE is God, not us… and we do well to remember that. Faith is trusting WHO He is and WHAT He says, not thinking we can coerce Him into OUR desires. Good thoughts. Blessings!

  36. My brother in Jesus is it snowing? As I look around I see the Diversity of your snow flake’s crystals reflection of the Son.

  37. “We want God to do our bidding. We don’t want to submit to His will; we want Him subjected to ours.” Great line! Wish I would have thought of it. :-)

    “Some of us think it says, “God will give us whatever we ask for provided we have enough faith and believe He will grant our requests.” But that is not what the Bible says. We are not told God will give us $1,000,000 or a new car or a better salary if we just have enough faith.” This too is so true, Joe. You have keen insights, indeed. James was saying…whatever we ask ACCORDING TO GOD’S WILL, we can be assured that we have it. People always forget the “according to God’s will” part.

    In that regard, I once wrote: “You might pray for God to give you a Mercedes Benz, but it isn’t likely to come your way…except at maybe 60 miles per hour as you jaywalk across the street…forcing you to leap out of its way to save your own life!”

    Great blog.

    David

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      Thanks, Dave! I especially like your last line: “You might pray for God to give you a Mercedes Benz, but it isn’t likely to come your way…except at maybe 60 miles per hour as you jaywalk across the street…forcing you to leap out of its way to save your own life!”

  38. cmdale says:

    Great post. We all fall into that trap now and then. It’s when we face the real trial, pray for God to do what we think He should do, get disappointed and then realize faith is what comes from His carrying us thorugh the trial!.

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      Amen! Thanks for pointing out this truth! I agree wholeheartedly! You remind me of my mother-in-law. You look similar and sound like her, not to mention she is also a Christian, wife, mother, grandmother, quilter, and worship leader. God bless you!

  39. morningdevotion says:

    Thanks, Joe. Good thoughts. Easily read. And thanks for visiting http://www.morningdevotion.com/ Glad that you were blessed by today’s devotion.

  40. Faith is knowing that God will always take care of our every need even if it isn’t through the methods we are aware of.

  41. ancientcures says:

    Thanks for this, we can have faith in whatever, the LORD promises us. I’ve seen real disallusionmet when name it and claim it doesn’t work out. Keep up the good work.

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      Thanks, my brother! We can indeed claim God’s promises, but we can’t claim what He hasn’t promised!

  42. Great blog post – Amen! I agree completely! I’ve had a few people throw those faith verses out like you were saying. I’ve seen many of these people get hurt in the process because they don’t understand what true faith is.

  43. Mama Sel says:

    “Their misunderstanding leads to unrealistic expectations, and their expectations eventually lead to disappointment.” – This is so true! It’s a sad thing that many people don’t know what they’re holding on to. Some people say they have faith. In what? In whom? Even the very definition of faith varies from one person to another.

    This is a really good entry, Joe. Thank you; I’ve been blessed. I also want to thank you for taking the time to read my entries. May God continue to bless you, your family, and your writing as God uses you to reach out, touch more lives, and let others know the truth in God’s Word. :)

  44. Bambi Lynn says:

    You are blessed! A great teacher, easy to read and understand your words. I shared this particular message with family and friends on FB. May you continue to be blessed as an Ambassador for Christ!

  45. Precepts says:

    This is a very good topic, Joe, and I am glad you wrote about it. I have not written an article specifically on the topic, as you have, but have discussed it in my articles both on John 14, here:

    http://precepts.wordpress.com/2008/08/20/john-14-part-2/

    and on Luke 11, here:

    http://precepts.wordpress.com/2008/09/29/luke-11/

    Perhaps you might be edified by what I have to say on the topic.

    Indeed, it is hard, particularly when we need what we are asking God for so badly, such as healing for a loved one, to find that He does not answer as we would like. In times like these, we wish perhaps to be living in a time when God would act more openly. Trust becomes an issue in these cases. We must understand that God’s work today does not guarantee us health, wealth, and happiness.

    Thanks again for writing the article. Keep studying the Word!

    Nathan

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      “God’s work today does not guarantee us health, wealth, and happiness.” That’s my point exactly!
      I like both of your articles, Nathan.

  46. christesmith says:

    Wow! This is very timely….I have friends who believe that everything is ours and we don’t have it because we don’t ask for it. They also believe that we are sick or injured only because we are not claiming healing. I have struggled with my responses as I do believe that God wants us to have life abundant and that includes good health and prosperity. I conversely believe that we live in a fallen world and our bodies are not going to be injury and sickness free. That is not physically possible although with right choices we can prolong and improve our health. I have come to the understanding that our answers to prayers come down to wisdom. Wisdom to request what God desires for us, wisdom to make right choices, wisdom to understand that we are not really in our final home and thus our desires should be more for eternal rather than temporal. This such a deep topic that I would love to see more posts from you on this.

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      Very true indeed! It comes down to wisdom. I actually posted an article on wisdom. Based on your comment, I think you will enjoy it.

  47. christesmith says:

    Reblogged this on liveyourbestlifedotme and commented:
    Very timely and insightful!

  48. I enjoyed reading this post and I’m going to bookmark this to read again!

  49. Tracys Post says:

    I think this is a well written article. Very informative for anyone who may not have any faith. There is only one thing I am confused about. And please understand, I mean no disrespect. I am not trying to start any conflicts or arguments.

    You state To receive God’s wisdom in trials, we must ask in faith. To “believe and not doubt” means to not only believe in the existence of God, but also believe in His loving care. This includes relying on God and expecting He will hear and answer when we pray. God does not grant every thoughtless or selfish request, so we must have confidence God will align our desires with His purposes (Ps. 37:4). Receiving wisdom from God depends on our faith in Him.

    I understand that God is not going to grant every selfish, thoughtless or insincere request. I also understand that I must have faith that God will hear me and trust in whatever decision God makes for me. And for the record, I do believe there is some higher power. I know there is both good and evil in the world and good has to be slowly winning or else we would still be living in Medevil times.

    But what about the person who does not believe in God for various reasons? Not because they worship satan because if you believe in Satan then you have to believe in God. Not because they are being rebellious. But because they just truly cannot believe that there is such a creature. It does not make sense to them. And not because God never answered any prayers or because good people who they loved died. Maybe its because of their upbringing or maybe because they found fault with some of the teachings they learned. Whatever the reason was for them to have doubt in God’s existence.
    They then decide to Pray and request wisdom from him. They are sincere in their request because they are truly looking for the truth but they cannot help the fact that they have doubts and cannot just make themselves believe because it it required. What happens to that person? From your statement, they will not recieve wisdom or an answer to their prayer because they do not have faith to begin with. And they will not even be able to ask for faith or help in believing because they do not already have it.

  50. This a great article that I think everyone should read. You explain the subject of faith and God’s answers to our prayer very well. I like the vending machine part:) I have learned that we can’t put conditions on God on how we would like our prayers answered. Would you believe it was a silly beagle that I adopted at the pound that taught me this? :) I wanted to get a dog for my husband and I prayed about it–told God what I wanted in a dog and then decided the one dog I would not adopt was a beagle. Well God had other ideas–max was the first dog I saw and then I spent 6 weeks checking out other dogs while God kept saying take the beagle–I did and he is all the other things I wanted in a dog:) God has a great sense of humor
    Here is a quote from Warren Wiersbe that is excellent about prayer–“The glory of God not the needs of men is the highest purpose of answered prayer.”.

  51. compassioncalling says:

    We have had the “name it and claim it” theory used against us by people regarding a certain situation. We’ve been told multiple times “if you had enough faith, then…” We know that God will make his perfect will be done in his perfect time.
    Thanks for liking our post, and it’s great to meet you! We’re praying for God to continue to richly bless your family and ministry!

  52. Delana says:

    So true! And when our prayer is based on something He has promised, we are to pray believing and not give up. “Keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking…” (Matthew 7:7).

  53. Will K. says:

    Great sermon!~

  54. Alton Costa says:

    Blessings brother, I thank the Lord for making it possible for me to read this article. I am at the moment teaching ‘When you pray’ an ICI course to a group of youths and this article fortifies the studies I am currently teaching. Thanks once again for your insight and may the Lord continue to use you in a mighty way.

    Regards,
    Alton
    altoncosta.wordpress.com

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      Thanks Alton! We can indeed claim God’s promises, but we can’t claim what He hasn’t promised.

  55. shailferns says:

    Your article reminds me of my younger days when I started believing God, when I was disappointed as you were on prayers not being answered. The problem is when you are young you need answers quickly and specially when you dont know the mighty lord you start to reason out and think, Will this actually work for me ? But bible reminds us in John 20:29 Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” New American Standard Bible (©1995). I do feel God knows the best and he knows when to provide and how to provide.

    I think sometimes as you rightly mentioned, it can get confusing as to what decisions to take. When I was out of my country for further studies I did not have a Job for upto a month which meant me having to get more money from my family. I was praying earnestly and my prayers were indeed asnwered but I had to work in a field different than mine (same as in the case of your son) but I decided to take it considering I had no option but things did work out well from there and eventually after 3 months I did get into the field I had desired. I believe the best thing to do in this case is to go with what comes your way, as it may definitely be something which God has planned or it may just be a stepping stone to something more brighter like in my case.

    Prayer is a powerful weapon, and we need to use it in our day to day battle. You also mentioned about wisdom, I feel that is something which we should all pray for in first place it designs our thoughts to work in his ways.

    Delighted to read your article brother. :)

    Shail F.

  56. Vicki Strong says:

    Great post! Thanks for leaving a “like” on one of my blogs so that I could find you.

    My husband was diagnosed with leukemia 3 1/2 years ago; has been in remission for about 2 1/2 years. Just 6 weeks after he returned to work I was diagnosed with LMS, a very aggressive cancer, that is now Stage 4. To round out our medical experiences, our adult daughter with disabilities had several heart surgeries last fall to make repairs to her heart muscle and valves. Throw in two job layoffs (his and hers to match our his and hers cancers, of course). Every time we make it through a rough patch, people say, “God is good.”

    I have learned to respond, “God is always good. Whether we survive cancer does not change that. Whether we have a job does not change that. Healing either comes here on earth or in heaven, but we will all be healed. Delivery from trials can happen now, or with our deaths. And THAT is what makes God good.”

    My response occasionally leads to criticism that I sound like I have “given up,” and need to (1) pray harder or (2) be more confident in asking God to take care of our troubles.

    Rather than believing in God as a Cosmic Santa who fulfills our “wish lists,” I think faith is recognizing that our ultimate needs, those of forgiveness, reconciliation with God and eternal life through Christ, are already ours. God has done what He promised! Jesus lives!

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      Thank you for telling me your story. I admire you for remaining faithful! Jesus promises you will receive your reward in heaven.

  57. ancientcures says:

    Romans 8:26&27 GOD answers our prayers according to HIS will and the SPIRIT makes intercession, because we do not know how to pray as we aught and also knows what the depth of our spirit is. Thanks for this entry.

  58. Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

    Amen! Excellent verse, my brother!

  59. Pingback: Cosmic Santa or Savior? « Jogging To The Finish Line

  60. Pingback: “Trust in the … « Jogging To The Finish Line

  61. jpfinn7 says:

    A good post, some good comments!

  62. Great reminder and I need to be reminded to always have faith. But if I check my life, I am given what he promised and that increases my faith.

  63. joe juliano says:

    God has never let me down, I let him down and go down because of it, it, my sin, my short comings, not a lack of faith, not for not doing enough, short because I am fall’n. Am I not?
    Save’d for what He did? Am I not? Still, this being human, though spirit in soul, can be a damn rough road.

    from one joe to another, this is why we write, to search our souls, eternally seeking till eternity.

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      Thanks for joining the conversation, Joe! Not only do we have the same name, but I play guitar too!

  64. bunkie68 says:

    Your post makes me think of the book The Secret, that so many people seem to go on about and buy into. I picked it up and started to read it several years ago, but I had to put it down. Ask the universe for what you want and you’ll be given it? Really? I may be oversimplifying, but that’s what I got out of it – just ask, and it’s yours. I know God doesn’t work that way. If I ask for something in accordance with His perfect plan for me, He is happy to give me that. If I ask for wisdom, insight into His word, He gives generously. But just because I ask for a new car doesn’t mean I’ll get it. Just because I ask God to help me find a way out of a jam I may find myself in doesn’t mean He’ll fix it in a jiffy. His version of fixing it may take months or years and may involve me going through some painful growth-inducing moments along the way. I’ve told my kids that God isn’t like a gumball machine – you don’t put in your prayer and have your treat come right out. God promises to meet our needs, and what He sees as my needs may be different than what I see as my needs. But I do know that God always provides enough. Thank you for posting.

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      Well said! We can face trials with joy because there are rich advantages from these testings. Trials, rightly taken, produce the quality of endurance and the profit of persistence. There is no gain in endurance without some investment in trials. True faith, like pure gold, endures, no matter how hot the fire.

    • ancientcures says:

      Well done, GOD is not our errond boy, the HOLY SPIRIT make intercession for us when we do not know what to pray for according to GOD’S will. I have to agree with you that we may have to endure through instead of getting out of what we is bothering us. I think Job is a great example of this as he went through great suffering but held on to his faith. GOD also did not give him answers as to why he suffered, but merely told him that HE was GOD. The church today does not want to preach on suffering even though many do.

  65. gospelier says:

    Well done, brother. Press on.

  66. Holly J. Harrington says:

    Love your site Joe. God Bless to all who pass on the word of Jesus Christ.

  67. LubbyGirl says:

    Hello and thanks so much for stopping by my blog attempt (a newbie here). Not only did I thoroughly get blessed by reading this post, I also had a “lift-me-up” moment while reading all the responses. Thank you so much for your insight. And I liked your music, too, by the way. My husband has also been gifted with a great voice, and I have been gifted with a great husband. Win-win!!

  68. graciehill48 says:

    I connect with what you say here. I will be passing this on to others. We can easily become confused by all the voices on faith. We need to stay focused on the Word and what it says. We also need to recognized who is God. We can learn to recognize Him, we can learn of Him, who He is and what He does. He is not a ‘fix-it’ God if I read the scriptures correctly. He cares for us and provides for us and sometimes that is in the skills and grace He has given us. Thank you for the like on my post, it brought me here and I have thoroughly enjoyed the visit. the Lord bless you and cause His face to shine upon you.

  69. Joe,
    Well said.
    What Christ did for us on the cross settled the issue of His love for us.

    Ideed!

  70. JoCa says:

    Good stuff! Well said, and much needed! Thank you!

  71. longwalker76 says:

    Excellent explanation!

  72. Tony Puccio says:

    excellent post . I love the part about the lordship of Jesus . I had a vision a while ago that goes along with your post . if you have ever seen someone with a st Christopher medal you know that people carry it around with them as a good luck charm. with that said, the vision the Lord showed me was of a person who had a small Jesus statue . Most of the time he had it in his front pocket . However , when he wanted something , he would take the Jesus statue out of his pocket and use it as a good luck charm . Once he got what he wanted , he would put the Jesus charm back in his front pocket.

  73. Lady T says:

    Excellent explanations. I enjoyed reading this. Sometimes we do treat God like some kind of genie who grants random wishes on demand.

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      I always like to say that we can indeed claim God’s promises, but we can’t claim what He hasn’t promised!

  74. emmalmoore says:

    Thanks Joe for stopping by Life’s Little Surprises for a visit. I’ve checked out you music and this post about faith and really enjoyed both. My faith is in God’s grace being sufficient for me and it is made perfect in my weakness. If Jesus didn’t say or do anything until he heard his Father’s instructions, why do we think we don’t have to do the same. Selah. Blessings

  75. Let me start off by saying God bless you. I instanly,loved this post because it contains a great level of Truth. When in tough situations, from experience Yes it does get difficult to stay focused and trust God through the process. Buy one thing im reminded of daily is that God will never leave me nor forsake me. Even when I dont feel his presence, he’s still right beside me. *Thanks for liking my post.

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      Thank you, my friend. All too often trials prompt groaning and complaint. This kind of response does not contribute to Christian maturity. It only makes matters worse. I believe trials are not to be seen as tribulations but testings. Trials, rightly taken, produce the quality of endurance and the profit of persistence.

  76. writinggomer says:

    Wow…really good. I read this one with my wife out loud, and we both enjoyed it.

    Blessings
    Greg

  77. I really enjoyed this. He’s building your faith and character so that when He places you in a pastorate, you’ll trust Him enough to stand through it all. It’s a tremendous calling, not one to be taken lightly…souls are at stake. He takes us the long way around so that we’ll know how to trust Him. Knowing God will give you His best….God bless you!

  78. Thank you so much for stopping by my little blog and liking my post. It led me back here to read this post which is just what I needed after my experiences of the past few weeks. I left my friend’s bedside yesterday evening upset and confused because I knew what God had told me about my friend’s illness but her husband was claiming something else entirely. My original intent with this morning’s post was to work out my confusion with the situation but received notice of my friend’s death in the middle of writing it. How loving of God to show me your post which explained the situation beautifully. I find that when I pray for His will that my life lines up just the way He wants and consequently, eventually, just the way I want as well.

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      I am sorry to hear about your friend’s death. I am thankful my post was helpful for you.

    • This article also helped me understand similar circumstances. I am learning to trust God and pray according to His will not mine. His will and mine are different. Proverbs 21:30 is my reminder of His will being supreme. There is a purpose and this gives me comfort.

  79. vids Thorne says:

    Thank you for a very clear study on what has become very common among Christians today. My family’s very involved in this name it and claim it belief. They walk by faith, and when I question how they can believe God will answer some outrageous prayers,they say God know their heart. At the time I even doubted if maybe I do not have enough faith. To me their is nothing that happen outside of God’s plan! He is Soveriegn! Thank you for making it possible via rss to get more studies.

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      Very true indeed! We can claim God’s promises, but we can’t claim what He hasn’t promised! I think that’s a profound truth that corrects some big errors in the name it and claim it mindset.

  80. castl23 says:

    Wonderfully put!

  81. I really enjoyed reading this, and have found myself in situations where I thought that if I prayed for something, God would grant my request. I have since learned to take my eyes off of my situation and keep them on Him. He may not answer every request, but what He has done for me is change my perspective.

    • Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

      That’s a good change, Denice! It’s amazing what happens when our perspective lines up with the Lord’s!

  82. Kayode Crown says:

    The beauty of these words is unquantifiable!

  83. Pingback: Faith or Presumption? « Inspirational Christian Blogs

  84. 1nest says:

    Awesome Blog.

  85. Jim Stauffer says:

    Joe,
    Thanks for this article on faith. You have hit the mark so many miss regularly. I will be watching your blog in the future.

  86. That’s some awesome stuff man. The dinner invitation email hits the nail on the head.

  87. Praise the Lord for the way He has communicated His message through this article. This is really, really, well articulated. Hope many (including myself) will be instructed, challenged and transformed by this message.

    May God continue to Bless you and work through you to accomplish His will.

  88. skymunki says:

    i read it again and i loved it again.

  89. merganzerman says:

    Thanks, Joe, for dropping by my blog. I appreciated your thoughts on faith.

  90. morethancurious says:

    Right on Joe! This is my favorite article yet – so practical and helpful in how we relate to God. I love the father image of God because it helps me make sense of things. How many of us would think that kids could just claim anything they want from their parents and then expect to get it? What makes this so tricky is that it is done in “faith”, but like you show, our faith ought not be that God will do whatever we want him to do or ask him to do, but that he can and will do that which is consistent with his ways which he has communicated to us. Thanks for addressing this issue!

  91. Pingback: Worry « Joe Quatrone, Jr.

  92. My partner and I stumbled over here from a different web page
    and thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so i am
    just following you. Look forward to looking into your web page for
    a second time.

  93. Pingback: Faith or Presumption? | Grace & Truth

  94. Pingback: Prayer: Can you hear me God? | Grace & Truth

  95. Reblogged this on The Bible Stop and commented:
    This article has great insight into true faith. Too many in the church today follow a shallow faith, with the attitude that we privilege God with our faith, rather than He privileges us with an opportunity to be saved from our sin.

  96. I believe you might enjoy reading my novel because of your post on faith and wisdom The novel presents the wisdom of God in a contemporary application.

    As A Lily Among Thorns – A Story of King Solomon, the Queen of Sheba. and the Goddess of Wisdom by Rudy U Martinka

    Regards and good will blogging.

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