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Posts Tagged ‘Romans 10:17’

Biblical Faith

July 22nd, 2015

“Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11:6 NIV.

Biblical faith is central and requisite to the Christian life.

My thoughts and comments today are about “Biblical faith.”

Life is difficult without a healthy measure of faith. Faith is natural unless compromised by opinions and circumstances. Disappointing experiences, damaged trust, and resultant doubts are usually the product of insincere promises or insufficient abilities to fulfill promises made. Yet your Christian life is completely dependent on faith. Paul reminded the Corinthian believers, “We walk by faith not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7.

Your life in Christ begins with the gift of faith, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9. Your spiritual life grows by faith’s increase, “. . if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the Gospel which you heard.” Colossians 1:22. Faith sustains you during and at the end of your journey, as faith did for “those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Hebrews 6:11-12.

And how is this journey of faith successfully accomplished? It’s simple really. “Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith . .” Hebrews 12:2. Faith is neither something you create of yourself nor can you sustain apart from Jesus, alive in your heart. “God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” Romans 12:3 NKJV. “Faith is not a mere sterile, intellectual belief, but it is that which confirms the heart, clarifies the mind, and controls the affections.” (Barnes’ Notes).

(1) Biblical faith is central and requisite to every aspect of the Christian life. Citing the example of Enoch, “as one who pleased God,” the Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Hebrews 11:5-6 NIV. Faith is essential, not optional. Biblical faith is described best in Hebrews 11:1.

(2) Biblical faith is: “the substance of things hoped for.” English lacks the breadth and richness of the original Greek text, in which the New Testament was primarily written. As used in this verse, “Substance” is closest to our word, “foundation, that which stands underneath to provide support.” Biblical hope is not at all wishful thinking; it is a spiritual reality established upon the solid rock of God’s Word. Read Matthew 7:24-27. The “things hoped for” are as certain as the singular character, absolute authority, and unchanging reliability of God. If God said it, I believe it. And that settles it. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing [comes] by the Word of God.” Read Romans 10:17.

(3) Biblical faith is: “the evidence of things not seen.” As used in this verse, “Evidence” is “the irrefutable proof and unchangeable conviction.” The “things not [yet] seen” are envisioned in one’s heart and accompanied by unshakable conviction of their certainty. Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV. Abraham is a great example of this principle. Read Romans 4:19-21 NIV. You don’t choose what you believe; you choose who you believe and that determines what you believe. Jesus said, “Have faith in God.” See Matthew 11:22-24. I believe God.

Jesus used the example of a tiny mustard seed to encourage faith and demonstrate its power, “the smallest seed, when planted it grows and becomes the largest of plants . . if you have faith as small as a mustard seed . . nothing will be impossible for you.” Read Mark 4:31 and Matthew 17:20 NIV.

Today, I pray for you that your faith grows strong and rests fully upon God and His Word.

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Simple Faith

March 17th, 2014

“Your faith and hope can be placed confidently in God.” 1 Peter 1:21 NLT.

The truest expression of your faith is obedience.

My thoughts and comments today are about “simple faith.”

By some, faith is considered intangible, maybe less than real somehow. According to the Bible, faith is tangible, and very real. It touches God; it releases God’s power to accomplish what He wills to do. Real faith is simple, not complicated. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 NKJV.  Substance and evidence are tangible. And those are what faith produces. Jesus observed of some, “You have little faith,” and asked others, “Where is your faith?” Matthew 8:26/Luke 8:25. Faith is essential for God to work as He wills.

God looks for faith where He desires to work powerfully. It is not a question of whether or not you have faith. “God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” Romans 12:33 NASB. Everyone has and expresses faith daily in the most ordinary and common ways. The issue is, do you have faith in God and His Word? Peter, who had a few struggles of his own, later wrote, “Through Christ, you have come to trust in God. And because God raised Christ from the dead . . your faith and hope can be placed confidently in God.” 1 Peter 1:21 NLT. Faith is confidently placed upon the truth and power of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. If your faith is placed in someone or something that can change, your faith is misplaced and will fail. Your assurance can be that, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”  Hebrews 13:8 NIV.

Jesus warned people who build their life “on sand” the instability of opinions that change, easily affected by circumstances. Read Matthew 7:24-27 NIV. The result is disastrous, leaving in shambles everything that person works to achieve. Jesus compared that to hearing the Word of God, but not building your life upon its sure and strong foundation. The Bible teaches, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing [comes] by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17 NKJV. Be diligent; give time each day for God’s Word. It is essential to a living and growing faith.

You have faith; God has given you faith. Trusting God does not take a lot of faith, just all the faith you have. “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed . . nothing will be impossible for you” Matthew 17:20 NIV. See also Matthew 13:31-32 NIV. Your faith can lay dormant and unused, or can be active and applied. You choose. Real faith is believing that in any situation God will do what He said He would do when you rest all your faith in His character and Word.

Obedience is the truest expression of your faith. “[Abraham] was trusting God so much that he was willing to do whatever God told him to do. His faith was made complete by what he did – by his actions.” James 2:22 NLT. Obedience, to simply do what God says, is the simple expression of faith. Faith cannot be described more clear or sure than this, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4-5 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that God finds confident faith in your heart.

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A Prayer Strategy

January 22nd, 2014

“After they prayed . . they were filled with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 4:31 NIV.

Prayer and faith are the door through which God enters powerfully.

My thoughts and comments today are about “a prayer strategy.”

There will be times when you have to do something, but don’t know what to do. You will experience situations, unfamiliar or even desperate. The Bible is filled with times and places when people have felt much like you do. Consider Moses facing an impassable Red Sea while pursued by Pharaoh; imagine Daniel awaiting imminent death from ravenous lions; the Apostle Paul endured a terrible storm in a ship being torn apart, and sailors ready to abandon ship; feel the isolation of the Apostle John, callously exiled to die on a remote island. Inevitably, they and others turned to God in their worst circumstances and God did not fail them. You are wise to study others’ faith and its results, and to learn from their experiences.

The Bible reports of Peter and John that the religious leaders, “took note that these men had been with Jesus.” If you spend time with Jesus, others notice a difference. Soon after Jesus’ ascension, Peter and John were arrested and threatened with worse if they dared speak of Jesus again. Read Acts 4:21-33 NIV. Jesus always had faced the opposition, always knowing what to do. But Jesus was no longer with them as before; they were on their own. “After they prayed, the place was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly.” Acts 4:31 NIV. Like those early disciples, this is what you do when you don’t know what to do.

(1) First, pray with faith. “Lord, behold their threatenings.” Acts 4:29 NIV. Prayer is too often the second, third, or last thing you think of doing when facing threatening situations. Begin with prayer; then, you may not need to worry. Here is good advice, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer . . let your requests be made known to God . .” Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV.

(2) Ask God for what you lack. “Lord . . enable Your servants . . with great boldness.” Acts 4:29 NIV. They had reason to be afraid, but fear like faith is really a choice. Fear thrives when you feel threatened. Faith grows when you choose to let God be God. Stop listening to your fears; listen for God’s assuring word. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing [comes] by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17 NKJV. The Word in your heart makes you bold in your faith.

(3) Expect God to do the extraordinary. “Stretch out Your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders.” Acts 4:30 NIV. Why pray at all, if you aren’t going to expect something spectacular from God? 2 Chronicles 16:9 KJV. Give God an invitation to display His power. Genesis 18:14 NKJV.

(4) Prepare yourself for things to change. “After they had prayed, they . . spoke the Word of God boldly.” Acts 4:31 NIV. More than expected happens when you pray; not a lot can happen until after you do. Prayer and faith are the door through which God enters a desperate situation powerfully. And His entrance is to fill you with His abiding Spirit. See Ephesians 5:18-20 NKJV. A Spirit-filled heart expects something marvelous and miraculous from God. “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you rely on the power of the Spirit in every situation.

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Healing

December 10th, 2012

I trust my Heavenly Father for healing – whether naturally, medically, or miraculously.

“The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise [them] up.” James 5:15 NKJV.

Your body is an amazing creation; it is unthinkable that such brilliance of systems could have “just happened.” Where there is such evident, unexplainable design, you can be sure there is a Designer. The Psalmist realized this miraculous origin and praised his Creator, “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – and well I know it.” Read Psalm 139:13-17 NLT.

Through natural processes within your body, God has given remarkable powers of healing. If there is a willingness to believe the reality of the Creator and the miracle of creation, supernatural healing as evidenced in both Old and New Testaments is not as giant a leap as you might first think.

Any person familiar with the Bible knows that God claims for Himself the power to heal, and empowers others to heal in His Name and by His authority. Healing was a significant dimension of Jesus’ earthly ministry. “And Jesus went about all Galilee . . preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and disease among the people . . and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.” Matt 4:23-24 NKJV. See Luke 9:11 NKJV.

Healing was the message and ministry of the followers of Jesus, as well as those who would succeed them. “Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses . . So [the disciples of Jesus] departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.” Luke 9:6 NKJV/Mark 3:14-15 NKJV. After Jesus’ Resurrection, He again confirmed the ministry of healing as a sign of His spiritual authority and His Spirit with them, “And these signs will accompany those who believe. In My name, they will . . place their hands on sick people and they will get well.” See also Mark 16:18 NIV. So simple, yet puzzling.

Isaiah foresaw the sinless suffering of Messiah and its practical consequence, “Surely [Messiah] has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows . . but He was wounded for our transgressions, and He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5 NKJV. See Matthew 8:16-17 NKJV. Peter looked back to the Cross, affirming Jesus’ substitutional suffering and its purpose, “. . by Whose stripes you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 NKJV.

Any conversation about healing comes with questions. I will not claim to have those answers; only God does. I am content to believe God, accepting His eternal Word and excelling wisdom. If you allow, what you don’t know about healing will neutralize what you do know about God – His unlimited power and unfailing compassion. Admittedly, yours or another’s faith as well as God’s sovereignty are undeniable factors in any discussion of healing. The answer to those is way “above my pay grade.”

James, the brother of Jesus, later wrote to the Church, “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:14-16 NIV. Faith expresses itself in an action in God’s direction.

There is an element of faith in God and His Word that is indispensable. “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17 NKJV. You can read the Word and strengthen your faith for healing, or believe yours and others’ doubts, doing nothing and expecting the same. I choose to trust my Heavenly Father for healing – whether naturally, medically, miraculously, or eternally. Read Revelation 21:3-5/22:1-2 NKJV. Whatever the process by which healing comes, God alone is the Source.

My prayer for you today is that you remove any limit to the greatness of God’s power.

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Essential Faith

November 30th, 2012

Essential Faith

Faith is a well-founded conviction that as God promises so it will be.

“Faith comes from hearing the message . . through the Word of Christ.” Romans 10:17 NIV.

There is confusion about faith – what it is, where it comes from, what it looks like, how it feels, or how it grows. In everyday life, faith is essential, not optional. You evidence some measure of natural faith in the most common of routines. You mail a letter with faith the Postal Service will properly deliver it as addressed. You deposit your paycheck with faith the bank will insure its security and availability for your use. You place faith in people you with whom you have no personal knowledge or history.

Uncertainty arises when the discussion shifts from ordinary, natural circumstances to the exercise of faith in matters of spiritual life. Faith is a well-founded conviction that as God promises so it will be. Faith’s conviction rests solidly upon the ability and integrity of the One who promises. The Bible describes Abraham as, “being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” Romans 4:21 NIV. Reading Abraham’s journey of faith you understand those words describe the outcome of his journey, not every moment of its duration. He became “fully persuaded,” as he chose again and again to believe God instead of feelings, facts, and fears. You can do the same with the same results.

God is the origin of faith that resides within each person, “As God has given to each one a measure of faith.” Romans 12:3 NKJV. You came into this world with that measure of faith in your spirit. Along the way, you learned to doubt and faith remained dormant, there but ignored and inactive, until, “By grace you have been saved through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God . .” Ephesians 2:8 NIV. Faith is the residing response in one’s heart to the eternal truth found in God. In your moment of decision, faith that was dormant becomes active. You don’t produce it; God gave it; you have it; exercise it sincerely; strengthen it continually. “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV. Faith does not first see, then believe; faith believes, then expects to see.

Faith accounts any apparent impossibility as opportunity for God to be God. Paul writes of Abraham’s faith, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as had been said to him . .  Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead – since he was about a hundred years old – and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” Romans 4:18-21 NIV.

Faith grows from consistent time and attention given to His Word. “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ.” Romans 10:17 NIV. When you fail to love God’s Word, you stifle faith. See Hebrews 4:2-3 NKJV. Read the Word; study the Word; meditate on the Word; believe the Word; speak the Word; live by the Word. Psalm 1:1-3 NKJV. You won’t become stronger in faith until faith becomes strong in you. 2 Thessalonians 1:3 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that God’s Word will be strong in you.

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