Thursday, June 26, 2014

What Is Faith?

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)

Faith is an important part of the Christian life.  We are saved through faith (Ephesians 2:8), we live by faith (Galatians 3:11), and without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).  From these verses we can see that faith is important, but what is faith and how does it work?  If we are saved through it, we live by it, and faith pleases God then we need to know what faith is and how to use our faith.  Faith is just taking what the Bible says, accepting it, and acting like it is true; we act and speak about a situation based on what the Bible says about it, that is faith.

Faith means that we put our trust, focus, and confidence in what God has said in His Word.  We don't trust in our own abilities, we don't focus on our circumstances, and we don't put our confidence in natural things.  When we are in faith about something we will be at peace and rest in our hearts even if we still have questions in our head.  We can put our trust and confidence in what God has said in His Word while still not completely knowing or understanding exactly how God will do what He said He would do, that is faith. 

When we are in faith about something we are really just saying that we know God will help us with what it is that we need and everything is not just left up to us.  God may give us an idea about something we can do in the situation but that does not mean we are trying to do it on our own, our focus is on what God has said not on what we can do.  Faith is not based on our actions but our actions must be in agreement with what the Bible says.  Faith is not a mystery, faith is believing what God says and then acting on that and saying that, that is faith.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Simple, But Easy?

"But He said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God."
Luke 18:27 (NKJV)

Most of us don't like it when things get complicated and difficult; usually the simpler things are the better.  But, just because something is simple does not mean it is easy.  For example, it is simple to say that we will start eating right and exercising, that is what many people decide at the start of a New Year.  However, most people who make that decision don't follow through with it.  Saying something and wanting to do it is simple, but it's not so easy to actually do it.  It is also simple to say that we should just do what God tells us to do, but is that always the easiest thing?

The Bible tells us we need to be a doer of the Word, a very simple statement that is not so easy to do.  How about walking in love?  It is simple to say that we need to do this but it is not so easy to do when you deal with people who are not always so kind and loving towards you.  This is not to say we should be discouraged and throw up our hands saying that there is no way to please God and to do what He says.  On the contrary, God tells us things that are simple and, although they may not always be easy, they are possible to do and He will help us to do them. 

Most people are only looking for what is easy but that is not always the best choice.  Sometimes the thing that seems the hardest to do is the best and leads us to better things.  So what can we do with things that are simple but not always so easy?  First of all, we need to have the attitude that no matter how difficult something seems to be we can do it.  God will help us do what we need to do.  Secondly, we need to remember that doing the right things in life is not always easy, but it is always best.  God is a big God who will help us do everything His Word tells us to do and everything He leads us to do.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Real Power Of Your Confession

"Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, when the Lord has not commanded it?"
Lamentations 3:37 (NKJV)

Our words are very important; what we say about ourselves and our life will have an impact on us.  This principle is something that we see in the Bible but the truth of this principle has been misunderstood and neglected by many people.  Often even when something is true but it is used in the wrong way people have a negative attitude towards that thing.  Our words, our confession, is one of these things.  While it is true that our words are important and our confession will have an impact on our life, many people struggle with this because they fail to understand the underlying principle of confession.

Some people have had the idea that if they just repeat something for a long enough period of time that it will produce results.  But it is not the amount of times or the length of time we say something that really matters.  That would be like what Jesus said about how the Pharisees thought that their prayers would be heard because they used "many words" (Matthew 6:7).  Just saying something we want to have happen one thousand times is not the most important thing, the most important thing is if what we say is in agreement with what God has already said.

We need to be sure that the things we say about every area of our life is what God has said in His Word about every area of our life; God will always stand behind His Word.  God's Word will not return void but it will accomplish what it was sent to do (Isaiah 55:11) and God will watch over His Word to bring it to pass (Jeremiah 1:12).  There is power in the words we speak when we speak God's Word.  When our words are in agreement with God's Word that is when we will see the greatest results in our life.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Maintaining Good Works

"This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works.  These things are good and profitable to men."
Titus 3:8 (NKJV)

The New Testament has a lot to say about good works.  Good works are not things you do to earn salvation and guarantee yourself a place in heaven; good works are what you do as a Christian because of who you are in Christ and what God has done for you.  Paul told Titus that Titus should "affirm constantly" the fact that believers should maintain good works.  That is really interesting.  It was not enough just to talk about doing good works once and a while, but Paul said it was something that should be done constantly.  Christians need to be encouraged to do good works, always.

The Bible says that we should be zealous, eager, for good works (Titus 2:14); we should have a pattern, be an example of, good works (Titus 2:7); we should stir up and encourage one another to do good works (Hebrews 10:24); people should be able to see our good works (Matthew 5:16); we should be rich in good works (1 Timothy 6:18); we were created for good works (Ephesians 2:10); and we should maintain, take the lead in, good works (Titus 3:8, 14).  What is all of this saying?  That our life needs to be filled with good works that glorify God.

So if we need to have a life of good works how do we do that?  It all starts with our relationship with God and moves out from there.  As we spend time with God through His Word and in prayer He will give us direction and bring us opportunities to do good works.  We can find good works to do in our church, in our community, and with friends and family.  The main thing is that we are always ready to take advantage of opportunities that come our way to demonstrate the life of God and the love of God that is in us, that is how we maintain good works.