What Faith Is

“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is
written, “The righteous shall live by faith. – Romans 1:17

What FAITH is

Holy Scripture defines faith as assurance of salvation in Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The word translated “substance” in the Authorized Version means “firm confidence,” or “assurance.” Luther correctly translated the word as “eine gewisse Zuversicht,” that is, “a certain confidence.” Faith is assurance that the things the believer hopes for, according to the promise of the gospel, are both real and for him personally. Similarly, faith is the “evidence,” that is, the conviction, that the things not seen are realities for the believer. Since the things hoped for and the things not seen are the things of salvation in Jesus Christ, faith is the assurance and conviction of salvation.

Early one morning around 5:00 o’clock I was sitting on the love seat in our living room having a

time of worship and prayer. During my prayer time I was intensely praying for God to show me his glory.

Just as I got the words out of my mouth the room lit up with a bright light. My heart felt like it would

explode from the force of the pressure. I could feel it beating rapidly in my throat. Fear gripped me as

I sat frozen to the love seat. Never in my life have I been so afraid. It is almost indescribable.

Almost as soon as the fear gripped me I began to feel very foolish. I realized that just as I had

prayed those words that a car pulled out from the road across from our house and the headlights had

shown through the window and illuminated the room. As foolish as I felt it still took several minutes for

my heart to get back to normal.

God spoke to me, “Do you still want to see my glory?” I answered, “I’m not sure if I am ready to

see your glory. If the headlights of a car scare me that bad I can’t imagine if it had really been you.” I

changed my prayer that morning from, “Lord, I want to see your glory.” to “Lord, help me get ready to

see your glory.” That light, even though it came from a car, exposed the condition of my heart. I think

God set me up. – exerted from justworship.com

Asking by faith

We all can relate to this situation; We seek, & in the presence we find God. We get overwhelmed so much some times that we don’t realize what we are really asking Him to do. Without preparation of what we ask for, we ask God, why has this not happened yet? It may be that your not prepared, His Word does declare…

” Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7

“…And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” – Matthew 21:22

Bargaining with God

For some, if we don’t recieve what we had asked for, we begin to bargain. Let me suggest that it is never ok to bargain with God, when we do, we set the parameters of the deal, not the almighty. It is God who sets the terms of the covenants and they are non-negotiable.
God says, “This is what i will do for you; here is what you will do.” There is no bargaining here. What God has promised is not in doubt and what we are to do is not in doubt; whether or not we do it is another matter, but there is no bargaining–only God’s promises and stipulations, and our obedience. God is in control!

If i were to pray before a sermon ” God if you give us your Word of assistance, we will worship you…” NO, what a foolish prayer, by faith we receive, knowing that He will direct the message and service the way He wants it to be directed, we are only a vessel in which He uses us for His glory.

~ Psalm 90:17 ~

” So that they might put their confidence in God and not forget God’s works, but keep His commands”

Exodus 33:7-10

7 And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp.

8 And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle.

9 And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses.

10 And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door.

– It amazes me that for most of us to worship God and to serve Him without wavering faith is to see His promises happen right in front of us. For His very being being promenate, our natural eyes looking upon Him, forgetting that in the supernatural He is doing the same wonders.

Exodus 32:17,18

” 17 When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses,
“There is a noise of war in the camp.”
18 But he said, “It is not the sound
of shouting for victory, or the sound of the cry of defeat, but the sound of
singing that I hear.”

Not rejoicing, but singing in response of a golden calf! Instead of not having faith and waiting for Moses to come down from the mount, they decided to make up their own god. Its a scary thing to think about that if we don’t receive from God what we think we should have at that time, by doing so we force Him to make that step, instead of Him moving us. but beware…

Do we realize the goodness of God? Think back about all the blessings of God, where He has taken you, and where He is taking you next! How exiting to think that the God of Heaven & made the Earth in six days, knows your life better than you. Are we taking for granted the goodness of God? Or are we expecting the goodness to come our way despite our obedience?

For the children of Isreal, a disobedient generation that God had rescued; did not realize what God had done for them until it was too late.

What more do you want?

A mother and son lived in a forest. One day a tornado roared through. The mother clung to a tree and tried to hold her son, but the swirling winds carried him into the sky.

The woman began to weep and pray: “please, O Lord, bring back my boy! He’s all i have. I’d do anything not to lose him. If you’ll bring him back, i’ll serve you all my days.”

Suddenly the boy toppled from the sky, right at her feet. He was a bit mussed up but safe and sound.

His mother joyfully brushed him off. Then she stopped for a moment, looked to the sky, and said, “He had a hat, Lord.”

– “He had a hat” Stand firm (September 1999)

The Isrealites who God had rescued out of Egypt, made the Red Sea part, rained down “manna”, made water come out of a rock

Drawing Closer

James 4:8 “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

It’s always that first step, that first initaitive to step out. He is reminding me of the times that when i was at church, during the altar call, the Holy Spirit would convict me so hard, i couldnt stand still; i was drawn to the altar, and every service that i held back, my heart got harder and harder. Think of it as a well, the lower the water level in a well, the dryer it gets, until it is completely empty, the ground becomes hard. I heard the message, it tilled my ground, but i didnt let the holy spirit plant the seed that it needed to plant. I know there will be a reader that someday will read this. Take the step, it is worth the step.

Wavering Faith

“Doubtless the reader has been tried with the temptation to rely upon things which are seen, instead of resting alone upon the invisible God. Christians often look to man for help and counsel, and mar the noble simplicity of their reliance upon their God. Does this portion meet the eye of a child of God anxious about temporals, then would we reason with him a while. You trust in Jesus, and only in Jesus, for your salvation; then why are you troubled? “Because of my great care” Is it not written. “Cast thy burden upon the Lord?” “Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication make known your wants unto God.” – Charles Spurgeon
 
“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”  – James 1:6
– “Their is more to him than what meets the eye, it’s when we put God in a box and limit His power in our life by not having him as our object of faith; what is impossible with man is possible with God.”
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Let’s look at Caleb, a man who displayed his courage after returning from his spy mission into the promised land. He was willing to take a stand with God when the crowd was more than willing to oppose God’s will.
Ten of the spies returned with “bad news”. They stated that taking the land was beyond their ability (Numbers 13:31). Joshua and Caleb reported just the opposite. In fact Caleb, “quieted the people before Moses”, and said, “Let us go up at once, and occupy it; for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30 – ESV). He also said, “If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it to us” (Numbers 14:8). Caleb was simply trying to motivate the people to go up and possess the land which God had promised (Genesis 17:8). They in turn desired to kill him (Numbers 14:10). Think about it! These people would rather have killed Caleb than listen to his words of exhortation. Like Caleb, we as faithful followers of God must be prepared to face adversity when we stand for the truth of God’s word. There are those who will oppose us with every fiber of their being before they will submit to God’s will. Do we possess the courage of Caleb? Will we stand with God even if means standing alone?

 Israel had not made a complete break from Egypt.Egypt in the Bible is used as a symbol of the world or worldliness. Israel had be delivered for Egypt, but they still retained in their minds much worldly thinking. Today some believers because of a lack of obedience to the Lord also hold on to much worldly thinking.God had brought Israel out of four hundred years of being in Egypt a place that God never intended them to be. In the later years a new dynasty of Pharaohs came to power who knew not Joseph. They enslaved the Hebrews and made them build the treasure cities of Rearmost. They cried to God for deliverance. God sent them Moses who led them from Egypt. God promised them the land of Canaan over 500 years earlier. God had taken them through the parted waters of the Red Sea and then to Mt. Sinai where God gave them the Law. Now they had traveled east and north to a small place called Kadesh-Barnea.Kadesh-Barnea for Israel was the place of decision. It was more than taking the land God had promised them. It a place to make the decision to follow and trust God or not. It was a decision to trust God and obey His word or to trust their own wisdom and understanding.God told Moses to send into the land one man from each of the tribes of Israel. Deut. 1:20-22, explains that God told them to immediately go and possess the land, but they wanted to first send in spies to look over the area so they could come back and plan their strategy. God was gracious although He had told them to go immediately and take the land. He let them send in the spies who were in the land for forty days.

Of the twelve men who spied out Canaan, Joshua and Caleb were the two who brought back a good report. Only they had faith in God.

Others with the same background, Egypt, Passover, Red Sea Crossing, Mt. Sinai had seen God supply their needs. However they did not truly believe God and with eyes of unbelief -(carnal) saw the task as impossible.

Joshua and Caleb through Eyes of Faith saw no reason to delay but to immediately go and take the land.

It should be noted that BOTH REPORTS WERE TRUE!

*Two men by faith trusted God and based on their trust on His promises and saw the land as theirs.

*Ten men trusted in themselves and knew they could not defeat the Canaanites.

They were both right! two men saw God as their deliverer, 10 men believed that man must deliver him self.

*Two men were willing to let God use them,

*Ten men opposed God’s will and hindered others.

*Two men rejoiced in what God was to give to them

*Ten men murmured, denied God, and Num. 14:10, says they wanted also to kill Joshua and Caleb because they wanted to follow the Lord.

Psalm 78:12-16 (ESV)

“In the sight of their fathers he performed wonders in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan. He divided the sea and let them pass through it, and made the waters stand like a heap. In the daytime he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a fiery light. He split rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep. He made streams come out of the rock and caused waters to flow down like rivers.

“They forgot his works
  and the wonders that he had shown them.”
Psalm 78:11

Caleb inherited what God had promised because his faith never wavered.

Psalm 9:10 ” And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.”

Our present faith = future hope

–  Meaning this, what Caleb knew of God’s power; Seeing the miracles God used to get the Pharaoh to let them go &  saw the Red Sea parted, Caleb knew that nothing was impossible for God.

Doubting God directing you = wavering faith

– The church say they want to serve God and have the blessing of doing God’s will….yet
they run hot one minute and cold the next.

“So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”  

Rev 3:16

1. What is it that is not letting you walk in the full potential in Christ?

– For some, it is commitment issues. One day they are all for that “special” someone, they go out of their way to please that individual. And the next day, don’t want nothing to do with that person. How does that happen? I believe it is by being selfish.

– stronghold? that pet sin you carry around with you has you chained up; in time it will get noticed. Therefore, keeping you a distance away from being committed to Christ, because you can’t seem to put your trust in an invisible God. Let’s face it, we all need a saviour. We know that on our own ability we can not do the impossible. But with God, all things are possible.

You Love me

You could love us more in a moment, than all the lovers could in a lifetime.” – Steffany Frizzell
As the Father loves the Son, in the same manner Jesus loves His people. He loved Him without beginning, and thus Jesus loves us. “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” You can trace the beginning of human affection; you can easily find the beginning of your love to Christ, but His love to us is a stream whose source is hidden in eternity. God the Father loves Jesus without any change. Christian, take this for your comfort, that there is no change in Jesus Christ’s love to those who rest in Him. Yesterday you were on the mount and you said, “He loves me:” today you are in the valley of humiliation, but He loves you still the same. – Charles Spurgeon
1 John 4:8 “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
 In our day, most define love as some type of feeling. We “fall in love,” or two people meet and it is “love at first sight.” But the world’s love is a selfish matter. If you are attractive to me, be nice to me, meet my needs and love me I in return will “love” you. The world’s love is based on getting something from some else. The world does not give love where is does not benefit themselves. If you do not please me then I have no love for you. Thus for the world love must be earned by making someone else feel good.           Powerful emotions may accompany love, but it is the commitment of the will that holds true biblical love steadfast and unchanging. Emotions may change, but a commitment to love in a biblical manner endures and is the hallmark of a disciple of Christ. Sadly, the opposite is also true.

Emotions will vary, but a commitment which has its basis in biblical love will not be affected by the whelm of emotion or of one’s circumstances.

Our example of true love is shown in God’s love for the sinner. Romans 5:8 says “. . .commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The lost sinner living in rebellion and sin is still loved by the Lord. He loved us enough to die for us and pay our sin debt while we were sinning against Him. This shows that true biblical love is a matter of will….not of emotion. God choose to love us and His love was not based on our meriting it in any way.

1 John 4:8 tells us that “. . . God is love.”

BIBLICAL LOVE IS AN ACT OF THE WILL..NOT OF EMOTION. 

Today many churches promote a “feel good” religion. It is meant to appeal to emotions. This has had the effect of turning people on to emotion and feeling instead of true spiritual biblical love and commitment. Many today are motivated by emotion rather than being motivated by a commitment to the Lord.

The Bible says we are to grow by the knowledge of the Word of God, not by religious experiences or feelings. Never in any of the Epistles does the New Testament tell us to seek emotional experiences and be guided by feelings. This is an important truth that is being ignored.

  • In 1 Cor. 13:1-7, is called the love discourse. It is a comparison of love verses the selfishness of seeking “gifts.” Many miss the context of this passage. Paul was addressing the selfishness of the Corinthians in their seeking to obtain gifts of the Spirit that would draw attention to themselves. These misguided individuals were seeking to be “seen” rather than to serve God. Paul was saying their seeking gifts from God was not motivated by love of God or of love of others. By the way dear friend, nothing is changed in that area….it is still going on today in spite of Paul’s strong three chapter explanation of the matter.
      • A. LOVE IS PATIENT. V4 (Long suffering) Even when you feel like forcefully expressing yourself. Love bears pain or trails without complaint, shows forbearance under provocation or strain, and is steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity.B. LOVE IS KIND. V4 Even when you want to retaliate physically or tear down another with your words. Love is sympathetic, considerate, gentle and agreeable.C. LOVE IS NOT JEALOUS. V4 (envieth not) Especially when you are aware that others are being noticed more than you. Love does not participate in rivalry, is not hostile toward one believed to enjoy an advantage, and is not suspicious. Love works for the welfare and good of the other.

        D. LOVE DOES NOT BRAG. V4 (vaunteth not itself) Even when you want to tell the world about your accomplishments. Love does not flaunt itself boastfully and does not engage in self-glorification. Instead, love lifts and builds up others.

        E. LOVE IS NOT ARROGANT. V4 (is not puffed up) Even when you think you are right and others are wrong. Love does not assert itself or become overbearing in dealing with others.

        F. LOVE IS DOES NOT ACT UNBECOMINGLY. V5 (Does not behave seemly) Even when being boastful, rude or overbearing will get you attention and allow you to get your own way. Love conforms to what is right, fitting and appropriate to the situation in order to honor the Lord.

        G. LOVE DOES NOT SEEK ITS OWN. V5 Biblical love is not selfish and self seeking. True Love does not try to fulfill its own desires, does not ask for its own way, and does not try to acquire gain for itself. Love, is an act of the will which seeks to serve and not be served.

        H. LOVE IS NOT PROVOKED. V5 Even when others attempt to provoke you or you are tempted to strike out at something or someone. Love is not aroused or incited to outbursts of anger. Love continues faithfully and gently to train others in righteousness, even when they fail.

        I. LOVE DOES NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT A WRONG SUFFERED. V5 (thinketh no evil) Even when everyone seems to be against you or when people openly attack you. Love does not hold a grudge against someone. Love forgives, chooses not to bring up past wrongs in accusation or retaliation, does not return evil for evil, and does not indulge in self pity. Love covers a multitude of sins.

        J. LOVE DOES NOT REJOICE IN UNRIGHTEOUSNESS. V6 (rejoiceth not in iniquity) Even when it seems like a misfortune was exactly what another person deserved. Love mourns over sin, its effects and the pain which results from living in a fallen world. Love seeks to reconcile others with the Lord.

        K. LOVE REJOICES WITH THE TRUTH. V6 Even when it is easier and more profitable materially to lie. Love is joyful when truth is known, even when it may lead to adverse circumstances, reviling and persecution.

        L. LOVE BEARS ALL THINGS. V7 Even when disappointments seem overwhelming. Love is tolerant, endures with others who are difficult to understand or deal with, and has an eternal perspective in difficulties. Love remembers that God develops spiritual maturity through difficult circumstances.

        M. LOVE BELIEVES ALL THINGS. V7 Even when other’s actions are ambiguous and you feel like not trusting anyone. Love accepts trustfully, does not judge people’s motives, and believes others until facts prove otherwise. Even when facts prove that the other person is untrustworthy, love seeks to help restore the other to trustworthiness.

        N. LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS. V7 Even when nothing appears to be going right. Love expects fulfillment of God’s plan and anticipates the best for the other person. Love confidently entrusts others to the Lord to do His sovereign and perfect will in their lives.

        O. LOVE ENDURES ALL THINGS. V7 This is one of the hardest to practice. Especially when you think you just can’t endure the people or circumstances in your life. Love remains steadfast under suffering or hardship without yielding and returns good while undergoing trials.

        P. LOVE NEVER FAILS. V8 Even when you feel overwhelmed and the situation seems hopeless. Love will not crumble under pressure or difficulties. Love remains selflessly faithful even to the point of death.

       LOVE CHARACTERIZES THE LIFE OF A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST.
      What is the practical application of this truth? 
      1. Because God save you…you get up on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday night and go to the place the church meets to worship God and study together. God commanded it (Heb. 10:25), therefore you obey the Lord. 
      2. Because God loved you and saved you from Hell, you put everything of the world second….and Jesus Christ first in all things (Col. 1:18) 
      3. Because God loved you and forgave you sins…you seek to win your neighbor, friend, co-worker, and the stranger to the Lord. 
      4. Because God loved you…be in thanksgiving; tithe and give your offerings that the work of the Lord might be done. 
      5. Because God loved you…you love and seek to serve your brethren in the church…You overlook their short comings and frailty. You do not criticized them and seek God’s best for them. 
      6. Because God loved you first.. and suffered and died for you…you willing will sacrifice you all for Him. 
      CONCLUSION: 
      1. TO THE LOST: REALIZE THAT THE ULTIMATE DISPLAY AND EXAMPLE OF LOVE IS GOD’S GRACE. HE LOVED AND DIED FOR YOU. WILL YOU REJECT YOUR SAVIORS LOVE YOU…OR RUN TO HIM FOR FORGIVENESS. 
      2. FOR THE SAVED: MAKE THAT COMMITMENT: I WILL LOVE, I WILL DO WHAT GOD WANTS ME. 
      So do we love Him enough to where we will lay our life down as He did for us? To carry our cross daily -Luke 14:27; Die daily to our flesh? – 1 Cor 15:31.
      ~ Be Ready, Stay Focused & Never Look Back ~