According to Matt. 16:24 Following God seems more like a dangerous walk than a stroll in the park, despite what some may lead you to believe.
Many of us tell God we will go anywhere or do anything for Him.
And no doubt after 14 years of trusting in Jesus there have been many opportunities to go places and do some neat things.
But have you ever felt like Jesus has placed on hold the adventure and wants you to stay where you are?
Look at this verse:
38The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him. (Luke 8:38-39 NIV)
Is it possible that the man was a little disappointed?
The following three truths will be helpful in deciding when and where to go:
1. Submit To Authority.
The man begged to go with Jesus but He told him to go home.
Of course we should submit to Jesus but also to those who are in authority in our life.
2. Be Obedient.
The man did just what Jesus told him to do which leads us to the next point.
3. Examine The Fruit
Are you producing fruit where you are? If so, it could be a good indication that you should stay there.
So, how does God help you to keep a fresh perspective on “home”, wherever that might be?
The Bible is a tremendous collection of numerous letters and writings, written over a vast span of time, that is comprised into one consistent book. The Bible comes from the Greek word biblos which literally means books. In addressing scripture I hope to address the usefulness of it and why it is necessary not just for the Christian but for all people. I will categorize the application of scripture into two main areas: PRIORITY and PRACTICE. In doing so I will cover the importance of reading the bible, how to learn from it, and why it should be obeyed.
PRIORITY: Reading the Bible
Anyone who is sincere about growing spiritually must be willing to consistently spend time in God’s Word by reading and hearing its writings.
The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Aramaic (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament). It has now been translated in many different languages, one of them being English. We also have various types of translations. All of the translations can be categorized into two main types of translations: Exact and Dynamic
An exact translation means that it is word for word from the original text intended to be a literal transcript. A dynamic translation seeks to translate the main idea of the passage in a thought for thought manner.
The Protestant Bible contains a total of 66 “books”, and was produced by about forty writers, but has only one author, God. It has historical significance due to the place and time in which it was written.
The discipline of reading the Bible can be difficult to initiate if we do not understand why the book was given to us, however its purpose is discovered within its own text . Most importantly, the Bible is spiritually significant because of its ultimate reason for being written. Consider the following passage:
“29Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 30Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:29-31, NIV Bible)
Belief in Jesus is vital to life, earthly and eternally. The Bible tells us that Jesus is/gives life. Because Jesus came to give us life we can determine if we are experiencing this “life” the Bible promises is available by considering what our life resembles. We can conclude if we are living the life that Jesus intended to give by examining the differences between life and death and answering honestly which they relate to more.
Understanding that God’s Word is life to the reader provides good reason for it to be read. The Bible tells us it is inspired by God . In Greek the word used is theopneustos which literally translates: God-breathed.
There are basic elements of life that we cannot physically do without; air, food, and water. These things sustain our body and allow us to function correctly. We find in scripture that these same elements are represented in the personhood of God and are life to our spirit. Consider that scripture is breath , bread , and water . The Bible also tells us that Jesus gives water and that He is bread . We also read that Jesus is the Word . Jesus is the perfect embodiment of the Bible and the Bible is the perfect embodiment of Jesus. When we read the bible we are not just learning something but experiencing Someone, God.
If God’s Word is breath, bread, and water for us, and if Jesus is the Word, how can we expect to know Him or become like Him in image and character if we do not read the Bible?
If you consider how long the human body can physically last with food, water, or air it is easy to connect how vital reading the Word of God with understanding should be to all people. Simply put, you will be unsatisfied if you do not read God’s Word. There will always be uneasiness within without proper knowledge of God; this only comes through the Word .
PRACTICE: Learning the Bible
If one is going to truly learn a skill or understand an idea it will require practice of those things. In Romans we are instructed to “offer” our bodies so that we might live as a sacrifice unto God, one in which we are being transformed and able to discern Gods will . This is referred to as sanctification. We understand that God is the one who completely cleanses and sets us apart ; however, there is the act of obedience to what God calls us to that allows this work to take place. How can a person experience this work without the daily application and practice of what is read? This is a cleansing work that is for our good. Though, potentially painful at times it is an act of love so that the fruit of our life will be more productive and available to all who surround us. In the book Foundations of Pentecostal Theology the author writes:
“Sanctification is seen to be a continuing process throughout a Christian’s lifetime. It is not something negative. A man in not considered holy because of the things he does or not do. Virtue cannot be judged by the vices from which a person abstains. There must be a positive conformation to the image of Christ. This is seen as a gradual growth in, not into, grace…”
The believer in Jesus Christ should understand salvation in three ways or tenses: Past, Present and Future . When a person trusts in Christ He saves them from past sins and from the penalty that those sins warrant. Salvation from our past sins is referred to as Justification. We are righteous before God, the price has been paid, and the believer is justified before God because of Christ. In the above paragraph taken from FPT the writer is specifying the difference between the past and present tense of our salvation as he writes, “This is seen as a gradual growth in, not into, grace” meaning the believer is already into grace, he is righteous. However, because we live in the grace of God we can grow in it, or be sanctified. Sanctification is the saving work of Christ that frees the believer from the power of sin and death on a daily basis . And lastly, trust in Christ will save the believer from the presence of sin when Jesus comes back a second time for His people . This is known as glorification and is described in 1 John:
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
A sobering couple of sentences are found in John 8:
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
This passage is startling because Jesus makes it very clear who are true disciples: those who abide or hold fast to His teachings found in the Bible. Abiding in the Word of God is vital to one’s growth and understanding of how the words of the Bible should be applied. There are tremendous benefits mentioned for the one who will do so: 1) they will discover truth and 2) they will be free. Freedom requires knowledge of what is true. One can read this passage as an if/then series of events; if we will remain in the word then we will know what is true. If we know what is true then we will be free.
In a book I once read the writer described a conversation that he had with a drunkard. The two were discussing the bible and the issue of freedom. Suddenly during the talk the drunkard rebutted that he was free to drink; to do whatever he willed. To this the writer agreed but also asked the question, “Are you free not to drink?” For the one who is growing and learning the ways of God the beauty and power of His grace is displayed in the freedom to overcome, think differently, and to pursue what is honorable.
The Bible informs us of a God who saves, enables us, and helps us to become more like Him. The practical application of the Word of God reveals His faithfulness and the truth of what is written. Because of this emphasis and focus should be placed upon reading and learning it. God offers to humanity grace that goes beyond the present and contains power to redeem eternally, saving from the power of sin in every way.
Guy P. Duffield and Nathaniel M. Van Cleave, Foundations of Pentecostal Theology, Foursquare Media, 2008
Ethix: Being Bold In A Whatever World, Sean McDowell
New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
New International Version Study Bible, Copyright 2002 by Zondervan Corporation
This short story beautifully connects the relationship between the father and his children, while also seamlessly conveying that our Heavenly Father is present in all that we do as well. Kevin’s use of imagery is fantastic and really brings the scenery to life! The message in this book is much-needed and lovingly shares that God is always there for us; and as dad, I will be too.
I See You There: My Father’s Love
Author: Kevin Main
Kevin blogs at: http://www.mainchristianbooks.com/
Kevin, who blogs at http://www.mainchristianbooks.com/ posted a great review on my recently self-published book, Why God Made Armpits! Visit his site and let me know what you think.
Why God Made Armpits is currently available at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/whygodmadearmpits
You can also “LIKE” on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/WhyGodMadeArmpits
If you are an author what successes have you had? Which avenues have helped you the most in realizing your dream?
Five years ago I wrote a short childrens story, for years it layed dormant in a file on a flash drive.
About a year ago I put a note in the dashboard of my truck next to my speedometer, that read something like this: “Finalize Book: 1. Find a illustrator. 2. Create blog. 3. Promote Book.” I believe now more than ever in the power of keeping a “vision” before your eyes. The bible talks about this in Habakkuk 2: Then the Lord replied: “Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.”
More recently I was driving on one of the main streets in the small town that I work in and noticed a truck cap sitting in a empty parking lot with a sign taped on it that read: “FOR FREE”.
I am somewhat of a scrappy guy and knew there was profit to be had. I quickly found a driveway to turn my vehicle around and then loaded the cap into the bed of my truck. After about five minutes of research I posted the newly found treasure to craigslist and within a few days sold it to a very happy buyer!
What to do, what to do with my new purse of cash. I waited and even asked God how I should use the money. I felt instructed to begin moving forward with the book. Long story (actually a rather short story) short, the money made from the cap was enough to pay an illustrator and even begin the printing process for the books. God has a way of working in our life that at first glance seems to be random and out of the blue. You want an example? A TRUCK CAP. What will make the difference is our ability to see and hear His very purposeful intentions for the presented opportunity.
I am not sure what will come of the book. I know what I hope to have happen… I also know that I am one more time going to, “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it”.
I’d love to hear about the endeavors you are undertaking? Are there opportunities surrounding your life that you need to view just a little differently?
Want to check out the book? Visit: http://www.etsy.com/shop/WhyGodMadeArmpits
You can also “LIKE” on: http://www.facebook.com/WhyGodMadeArmpits
God calls each person, 1) To know Him and 2) to make Him known. God has also gifted all people in specific ways that are supportive of how He would use us to make Him known. These specifics could be referred to as “calling”. The matter of “calling” is typically a pressing issue for all believers and non-believers at some point in one’s life. For more content concerning our ultimate calling read https://doylevan.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/the-specifics-of-gods-will-for-my-life/.
There are times, however, that despite an understanding of your purpose and calling these matters become questionable and even doubtable. How does one respond in a time like this? What keeps a person driven, intentional, and unmoved from their God-given calling? God once pressed a question upon my heart that also revealed a key to moving forward despite doubt or insecurity. The question: “If you lack boldness to speak your calling, how will you ever have the courage to walk in it?”
His point I believe is that if we are too fearful to speak what God has called us to, probably more accurately, to hear ourselves say what we believe, how will we ever be able to actually live out the calling?
When something moves from the inside to the outside it becomes exposed. It is revealed. This can be startling because when our thoughts, dreams, or beliefs move from being internal to verbal one is opening the door to accountability. It is much easier to keep your mouth closed. However, accountability is foundational to long-term success, no matter the mission.
Before you decide to grab a megaphone and tell the whole world the secrets of your heart keep in mind the following principles:
1. Speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
In other words, don’t feed yourself a line of bologna. If you ask me bologna never tastes good, it’s the lowest form of lunchmeats. Living a lie is the lowest form of living.
When it comes to your calling don’t exaggerate. Answering the call of God will typically not require one to change their personality, interests, or gifting’s. What I mean is be you at all costs. While the calling will mean that one’s character and the practical use of their gifting will need improving, continually, it will not demand that you be someone you’re not.
Sometimes we would rather walk in another’s shoes. They seem more exciting and look cooler. The only problem is the shoe might not fit you.
Live out your calling.
Speak your convictions, what you know to be truth within your heart of hearts. Nothing could be more uncomfortable than trying to live out something contrary to what is within.
Psalm 86:11 (NIV) Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
2. Don’t trust yourself.
If your heart desires God then your heart desires what He wants.
Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
If your passion is to live out what God wants (the things of the Spirit) then you can rest assured that the calling(s) that you feel impressed to speak about are placed there by God for you to live out (live according to the Spirit).
This is why God tells us to commit our ways to Him:
Psalm 37:5-6 Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
Measure the weight of Gods promise in this scripture. God said that if we commit our ways to Him He will bring it to pass. This should take the pressure off of our shoulders. God has made Himself accountable… to Himself, and really, who better?
Look at the example between God and Abraham.
Hebrews 6:13-15 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
It is like a guaranteed guarantee. Human guarantees are based on circumstance and the words in fine print. God is not like you and I.
He does not say one thing and then do another.
I once entered a car dealership because there was a guy holding a sign that said “BLOWOUT DEALS”. I naturally expected to see at least a few good deals. The salesman came out to greet us and I asked him, “Where are all the deals?” He then answered, “Deals? That is just a sign.”
I was a little ticked.
God is not like this. He does not offer promises to us and then back out saying, “Well, that was just a promotional stunt.”
If God gives us a calling He will certainly help us to walk in it successfully. He only asks that we commit our ways to Him.
Don’t trust yourself. Trust God.
3. Realize, at times you only need to speak loud enough for yourself to hear.
There is definitely a time and a place to share with the right people what you believe God has placed in your heart to do or say. That time will come and when it does we should be ready to share.
However, there are times if we were to share with everyone our dreams or plans we would more than likely be laughed at, looked down upon, and even called foolish.
It can be hard enough to take your own eyes off of the surrounding circumstances, you certainly do not need any added unbelief and doubt from friends, family, and peers.
In those moments, like David, we only need to know what God has said, and to remind ourselves of it.
1 Samuel 30:3-6 So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David’s two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had been taken captive. Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.
Imagine standing alone, realizing that you have lost everything to the enemy and yet the calling to become king is still inside of you. What once may have been a blazing fire in David’s heart at this point may have only been a burning ember struggling to keep its flame.
If you have tended a fire then you know when a flame reaches this point special care is to be given. Too much at one time will suffocate the flame and cause it to go out.
David could have stood up at this point and began to shout in the face of those following him, “I AM STILL GOING TO BE KING! KEEP FOLLOWING ME!!!
The people may very well have killed him. The flame would be suffocated.
David took special care; He tended the fire and gave it exactly what it needed: He strengthened (encouraged) himself in the Lord his God.
David spoke just loud enough for himself to hear.
Wherever you are concerning your calling may determine who you speak to and how loud you say it, nevertheless the fulfillment of your calling is dependent upon your willingness to speak up whether you need to hear it or someone else.
While listening to a message on prayer the pastor asked some interesting questions:
IF the enemy (the devil) gets the blame when things are bad should he also get the credit when things are good?
Is the enemy attacking more when things are difficult and less when things are easier or not as difficult?
His response to questions was that when our train of thought is focused on everything the enemy is doing we need to change our perspective. He suggests (and I agree) that the problem is not that we have opened a door for the devil to release trouble; it is that we have not released God to intervene. Ultimately, we need pray more.
To Successfully Pray With Faith One Must Realize The Following Points:
1. The devil is not as deserving as we sometimes think.
Ephesians 6:10-1210 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:13-1813 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—
Why does the Apostle Paul advise to “take the shield of faith” above all?
It takes faith to stand up for truth (Vs. 14)
It takes faith to believe we are the “righteousness of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:22)
It takes faith to share the gospel (Vs. 15)
It takes faith to receive salvation. (Vs. 17)
It takes faith to believe the Word of God) Vs. 17)
It takes faith to pray. (Vs. 18)
Hebrews 11:66 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
2. It’s not our faith that extinguishes the fiery arrows but Who our faith is in.
Some things to consider concerning the shield:
A.The word shield is rooted in the word door.
The root word of shield is the same Greek word for the word door (or gate) in John 10:
John 10:99 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
When the believer “takes up” the shield of faith it should be understood that the effectiveness of the shield is not because they are skillful at blocking the attempts of Satan to destroy their life but rather they are holding up the One who defeated the devil and his grave.
B.In prayer who are you holding onto?
If a shield is going to benefit a person it should be held onto.
C.Who are you allowing to go before you?
The soldier walks with the shield in front of them.
The believer can pray with confidence because of the One who has gone before them.
Hebrews 4:14-1514 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
John 14:13-1413 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
John 14:14 is the reason why most Christians end their prayers with “…in Jesus name I pray”. However, this is not a magic phrase that can be used to make sure that what was prayed for is received…
3. Faith is effective when it is based in God’s Word
If Jesus is the essence of our faith than our prayers must be in agreement with what God has promised…. Jesus will not break His own Word. He can’t. If so, He would be an imperfect Savior.
How do our prayers become influenced by effective faith?
Romans 10:16-1816But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “LORD, who has believed our report?” 17So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”
Faith comes by hearing God not by our ability to create faith.
Faith comes not by us trying really hard but by hearing.
Both of the above phrases should be a relief to the one who prays because effective faith is not based on a person’s ability but on their willingness to receive the Word of God. Are you willing?
Jesus relates extremely powerful faith to something very small, a mustard seed.
Matthew 17:2020So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
Because of this comparison one can be encouraged in the faith and prayers because the effectiveness is not based on quantity but quality.
The Word of God is essential to effective prayers, because without it our prayers have no foundation.
Which leads to a question: If our faith and prayers are not founded upon God’s Word what are they established upon?
Hopes? Desires? Selfish motives? Wants? These alone are faulty grounds for God to get involved in a way that we find favorable concerning our prayers. It won’t happen.
Anytime we pray based off of our desires rather than what we hear from God Word it will result in frustration.
Our prayers should lead our decisions. BUT, how often do our decisions lead our prayers?
Everyone knows how to play hide and seek. One person counts to fifty while everyone else runs and hides. If you were like me you would hide hoping to never be found and to only reveal your hiding place once everyone had given up looking for you.
A misunderstanding of the following verses could lead us to a discouraging game that God never intended to play:
Matthew 7:7-8 7“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
Jeremiah 29:13 13And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
Why if God wants us to know Him would we have to seek Him?
God does not play hide-n-seek.
When God desires for us to seek Him it is not because He is hiding from us. Notice in both Jeremiah and Matthew scripture tells us we will find Him.
God is not hiding. I think the more appropriate question is; are we seeking?
God has revealed Himself in creation, His body of believers, and within His Word; He can easily be found.
God does not hide from us it is we who attempt to hide from God…
Genesis 3:6-8 6When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 8Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
After knowingly doing wrong Adam and Eve hid. As much as we would like to think that God cannot find us in our sin He can.
If you think God is hiding from you ask yourself these three questions:
#1 Do you want to see Him?
Is there sin in your life? Is there something in your life that you do not want God to see or know?
Are you willing to allow God to see you as you are, no matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been?
He wants to cover you.
#2 Do you want to hear what He has to say?
Although sometimes we would like to blame God for not speaking to us we may be the ones who are not ready to listen. God does not waste His words.
If God seems to be silent maybe it’s time to evaluate our readiness to receive what He may want to say, whatever it may be.
#3 Have you waited long enough for Him to show up?
As a person living in America with busy calendars and time crunches we become very accustomed to sticking to our schedule.
God is not on Eastern Standard Time. But He does keep His Word. God is not obligated to abide to our deadlines but He is obligated to keep His promises.
God does not lie.
If God has not yet completely answered your need, just wait. He will. Don’t leave early because you think God is late. He’s faithful.
Hope is the blueprint by which we build our life. It literally gives us a picture of what we do not see in the physical, but can clearly visualize within our hearts and minds. Our faith is the tool that we use to construct that which we hope for.
Hope is vital to life. Regardless of what a person believes about God, there is a hope within for something that is greater than what they know or have experienced.
However, without placing hope in the right place disappointment is inevitable; hope in anything of this earth cannot sustain due to the nature of this earth… it’s dying, it contains sin.
Consider the words of Job’s friend:
Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh? Can reeds thrive without water? While still growing and uncut, they wither more quickly than grass. Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless. What he trusts in is fragile; what he relies on is a spider’s web. He leans on his web, but it gives way; he clings to it, but it does not hold.
To hope in the things of this earth, whatever it may be, is as unstable and weak as a human leaning into a spider’s web for rest or support.
How then do we balance between believing for the best yet knowing that ultimately “it’s” best will still fail us?
Above all hope must be securely settled in God.
Secure hope is hope that is an eternal, all-knowing God. Anything else ultimately is hopeless. Nothing and no-one else can produce the results we need for a satisfying, purposeful, meaningful life.
Don’t think so…? Has a person you trust ever hurt you? Have you ever told a lie? Is the earth progressing or decaying? The point is, hope cannot ultimately be fulfilled without it being anchored in God.
HOPE IN GOD ALLOWS…
1. Him To Come Through!
As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed– the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 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.
Hope is not in what we can see but in who God is.
Abraham constructed his life with the tool of faith and produced exactly that which he hoped for.
Hope in this text means to anticipate, ususally with pleasure; to have expectation (abstractly or concretely; and to have confidence. Even when it was “Against all hope”, when there seemed to be nothing to logically expect or put his confidence in, Abraham still decided to.
He anticipated, expected, and confidently believed that what God said He would do would take place. Or in other words, God would come through. (Having confidence in what God has said is vital to hope being fulfilled… His Word is truth.)
Abraham did not hope in his ability to have a child, his faith was not in being known as the father of many nations, his hope was in God. He trusted that God would do exactly what He promised to do.
2. Us To Be A Witness!
1 Peter 3:15
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
When a person believes in God It is reasonable to expect others to ask what they are so hopeful about.
It is possible that what we are most hopeful about will appear to other’s as hopeless. What a witness it will be and is when God is proven to be our true source and provider in all situations, even eternally.
God is only glorified as a person chooses to trust in what He has said. Hope in His Word causes a person to live opposite of the current thus causing others to notice a difference. When others notice it is opportune to explain why.
I John 3:2
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
Godly hope drives and motivates a person to be like Jesus, to live like a disciple. A person becomes more like whatever they put the most emphasis on in their life. In the disciples case they are being transformed into the likeness of Christ.
I John 3:3
Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
When we live without motivation we are actually living without hope. Motivation propels a person forward as they believe that what they hope for can actually take place and become a reality.
No one wants to be let down. Considering the source of our hope(s) is the first step to our hope actually being fulfilled. Does the hope(s) you have stand the chance of letting you down. Be in anchored in Christ. He’s trustworthy.
Seasons change and so does life. Whatever the circumstance, we can be sure that it will change one way or the other. Wherever we may be will not always be where we are.
Right now may be or difficult or maybe incredible. Either way it is important to understand how to successfully make it through each season that we find ourselves in.
A. HOW TO LIVE IN THE SEASON
1. REALIZE SEASONS CHANGE BUT GOD NEVER DOES
8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Your circumstance does not determine the outcome. God does. God will move on our behalf, according to His perfect will. We do not have to live life bound to our circumstance or what the world throws at us. As Christians we should not be bound to our circumstance but to the promises of God.
God’s Word is a whole entire book filled with His promises. It is vital to understand what His Word says regardless of what life says. Why? Because His Word calls things that are not as though they were and brings what is dead to life.
2. WORK SMARTER NOT HARDER
Each season will require different work to be done. Farmers know when to plant and when to harvest in order to have to best possible fruit of their labor.
4A sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.
Follow the voice of the Lord and His specific directions so that you may complete the work successfully.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7
6I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
3. RELEASE FAITH
We must understand what is really happening when we are truly putting our faith into action.
Acts 3:11-12 & 16
11And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering. 12And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?
16And his name (through) (faith) in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith (which is by) him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
To understand what actually is taking place when we release our faith we are going to disect three specific words taken from verse sixteen. It will be somewhat of a play by play of faith in action.
First, what is Faith? (faith)
4102 pistis (pis’-tis);
from 3982; persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in such profession; by extension, the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself:
Faith is being persuaded and convicted that Jesus is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do. Our persuasion can only be in the name of Jesus and His promises.
Second, how is faith released? (through)
1909 epi (ep-ee’);
a primary preposition; properly, meaning superimposition (of time, place, order, etc.), as a relation of distribution [with the genitive case], i.e. over, upon, etc.; of rest (with the det.) at, on, etc.; of direction (with the accusative case) towards, upon, etc.:
Our faith (what we are persuaded of and morally convicted about) must be distributed. To distribute means to spread out so as to cover something.
Our faith in the name of Jesus must completely cover over our situations and impossibilities.
In other words we cover over what we believe for with the promises of God. It absolutely does not matter what it may appear to be. We are to cover over what it is with what God says it can be.
Third, how does Jesus’ power interrupt our circumstances? (which is by)
1223 dia (dee-ah’);
a primary preposition denoting the channel of an act; through (in very wide applications, local, causal, or occasional):
When we distribute faith it literally creates a channel for Jesus’ power to flow into our lives.
Faith provides a roadway for the power of God to flow directly into our lives.
Much like we construct roadways to travel from point A to point B. Faith is the roadway that Jesus will use to meet us directly where we are located.
In life, it does not matter how remote or deserted an area may be, if there is a roadway people can travel to those destinations.
In our spiritual life, if we distribute faith it literally provides the means for Jesus to meet us, no matter how remote, deserted, or desperate our location may appear to be.
FINAL THOUGHTS ABOUT FAITH
16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
AVOID THE FOLLOWING SEASON “KILLERS”
Discontentment is a joy stealer. You will always feel that you never have enough when you are discontent.
12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Lack of faith will leave you feeling hopeless. Lack of faith makes you feel alone.
6But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
A life of doubt is governed by circumstances. Circumstance change from one minute to the next.
No matter how great life may be, if there is pride destruction is sure to come.
Pride robs God of His Glory.
18Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. 19Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.