Monday, February 29, 2016

What is Faith?

…the just shall live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:4 (NKJV)

God’s has set up this world in such a way that the only way His people can approach Him and receive from Him is on the basis of faith. In fact, we can’t even be pleasing to the Lord in any capacity without faith (Hebrews 11:6).Faith is so much the centrality of the Christian life that it is the way we come to know God and it is the way we sustain our Christian walk.

What is Faith?
The Bible says that faith is the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Let’s break this down: First, hope is the knowledge of expected good – this is what makes up the substance of faith. Secondly, the evidence, that which proves the substance is unable to be seen. Therefore, faith is the confidence that comes from knowing that what God has said is greater than what my eyes can see.

Where Do You Get Faith?
First, the bible tells us that every person has been dealt a measure of faith by God (Romans 12:3). If God had not dealt us that measure of faith we could not be saved; for we are saved by grace through “faith” (Ephesians 2:8). God loved me and you so much that he placed inside of us what we would need in order to come into his saving grace. Secondly, we gain faith by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Whenever you hear the word of God preached, whenever you listen to the bible being read, or worship to the sound of scripture in your favorite hymn or praise song, you are gaining faith. Isn’t good to know that what God requires to please him can be contained in a book or even on our phones?

What Does Faith Do?
Faith is our protection as we walk through this life (Ephesians 6:16). Notice that faith does not keep the enemy’s fiery darts from coming at you, but it will extinguish them. Remember, Faith did not keep Daniel from the den of lions, but it did keep the lions from hurting him. Faith did not keep the 3 Hebrew children out of the fiery furnace, but it did keep them from getting burned. It is important for us to know that we will not always escape the walk in the valley of the shadow of death, but we can know that the Lord will walk with us when we make that journey.

Scripture to Claim

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 (NKJV)

submitted by Sam Nobles

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Authentic Christianity

The Great Revealer
“Persecuted for Righteousness Sake” Matthew 5:10-12
These verses conclude the list of statements that delineate the Christian's character.  Jesus forecasts the perilous path “little Christ” or “Christian.”
Jesus is stating not that the world hates us, but Him.
When you fight sin, you fight men. 
The world becomes tolerant of Christians but only to the degree that Christians become tolerant of the world.
It is no compliment to a Christian to have it said that they never had an enemy.
Self-preservation is often a synonym for selfishness and compromise.
Before the end of the First Century the Greek word for "witness" was the same as for the word martyr".
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake (5:l0a)
Persecuted - put to flight, driven away, pursued
for righteousness sake – the qualifier
Christian persecution is suffering, injury, or other unpleasantness that is caused by one's relation to Jesus and His Word.
Christian persecution calls attention to Christ, not the one being persecuted.
When Christianity is lived fully, the hearts of men are revealed.
Not everyone with a martyrs look on his face will wear a martyrs crown on his head.
The Happiness (Blessedness) of Persecution
·       It is evidence that you are united to Jesus.  IDENTITY
·       It is used by God for PURIFICATION AND STRENGTHENING.
·       It is used by God to make us VICTORIOUS.
·  It is used by God to prove our FAITHFULNESS.
·  It is used by God to prove our VALUES.
·  It is used by God to give opportunity for Testimony of supernatural strength.
"For theirs is the Kingdom of heaven" v.10b
"Great is their reward in heaven" v.12a

Christ’s followers do not possess the Kingdom because they endure suffering but because they are possessed of the Kingdom.

Friday, February 26, 2016

God is Watching Us Gift Us

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If
I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You. 
Psalms 139:17-18

Of course you have heard many times how God sent the greatest gift in the world to us on the first Christmas - the gift of Jesus as the sacrificial lamb for our sins.  He came so that we could have another gift – the gift of eternal life.  This truly is the gift that keeps on giving.  God has given us so many gifts all encompassed in Christ Jesus. 
Another gift of God is the gift of the Holy Spirit who is with us always.  His presence is a gift we carry every day within our hearts.  Our very lives are a gift from Him as well.  Then we could also mention all the gifts He gives us in the way of family and friends, animals, flowers...all of creation that is beautiful to behold.  Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God Ecclesiastes 5:19.
These six New Testament gifts of God are listed below in sequential order as we trace them through the New Testament.
  • The Gift of Christ Himself.  Jesus answered her, If you had only known and had recognized God's gift and Who this is that is saying to you, give Me a drink, you would have asked Him [instead] and He would have given you living water.  John 4:10
  • The Gift of the Holy Spirit.  Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, saying, "Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." But Peter said to him,
    "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!  Acts 8:18-20
  • The Gift of Eternal Life.  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord Romans 6:23.
  • The Gift of Individual Personal Abilities (Spiritual Gifts).  Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that.  1Corinthians 7:7
  • The Gift of Salvation through Faith.  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  Ephesians 2:8
  • The Gift of Confident Love.  For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.  2Timothy 1:6-7
The reason God gave you life is so you would have something precious to give back to Him.  Every breath you take is a gift from Him!  Our God is full of compassion and He loves to give. Remember, He is thinking about you continuously and He is giving to you constantly.
All God’s gifts are good and perfect and they are eternal.  They are forever gifts. They are just that – gifts.  God merely desires we respond in a relationship with Him.  The greatest gift God gave us was Himself; the greatest gift we can give Him is ourselves.  
Scripture to Claim:

This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD'S loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him." Lamentations 3:21-24

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