Tag Archive: Faith


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It’s often been said, but definitely bares repeating…

As born again believers, may we always embrace our faith in Christ as a child. Lest there be any confusion, being childlike is never to be mistaken for being childish. They are most assuredly a world apart.

Childlike faith recognizes and embraced complete and utter dependence upon the Heavenly Father. Childish faith continues to ignore this fact, instead attempting to accomplish the unattainable in his own power. Childlike faith is care free. Childish faith is careless. Childlike faith is trusting, yet testing all things according to God’s Word. Childish faith is ignorant and foolish, often trusting in feelings, not in the Lord who bought him. Childlike faith is always attentive to the Father. Childish faith is directed by his flesh, often tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine.

Childlike faith is selfless. Childish faith is consumed with self. Childlike faith is innocent regarding evil, yet not ignorant of the enemy’s devices. Childish faith is ignorant to Satan’s devices which often leads into areas loaded with spiritual and doctrinal landminds. Childlike faith happily receives from the Lord to then gladly give away. Childish faith is content to consume, rarely offering anything to anyone.

Childlike faith joyfully receives daily food from Heaven. Childish faith cares little for heavenly manna and is often ruled by foolish and fleshly appetites. Childlike faith is always inquiring of the Lord, always thinking, always desiring to grow in the knowledge and understanding of His Savior. Childish faith is always arguing with the Lord, questioning and complaining every step of the way. Childlike faith is humble, slow to speak and quick to listen. Childish faith abundant in pride, ever willing to cloak his ignorance in the abundance of words.

There’s a very good reason Jesus brought a little child in the midst of the disciples and said, “Verily I say unto you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3-4

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A Palette of Pageantry

Church EventWhy do we get so excited about the outward business and activity of the visible church yet often have so little thought or joy concerning the Lord’s eternal work within the inner man?

In the unseen heart and mind the Lord continues transforming and renewing the broken and weak into His victorious and sanctified saints. He mysteriously and gloriously plants His Eternal Word into all who are willing, breathes His breath within, and by His power, the Seed grows and grows, producing eternal fruit to both nourish that very person and those hungry and weary travelers he meets along the way.

Much of this amazing work takes place in the unseen realm, only becoming visible over periods of time. This is the godly life made known in and through true believers! This is what Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, called the mystery of godliness, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27

This is truly the marvelous work of the invisible God, yet instead of joyfully walking by faith, we too often choose to walk by sight; becoming enamored with the outward accouterments and pomp now calling itself the (post)modern church.

Sadly, many have traded the desire to marvel and rejoice over the inward work of the Holy Spirit for a palette filled with the pleasantries of outward pageantry. Instead, let us return to the old paths. Let us truly taste and see that the Lord is good! (Jeremiah 6:16; Psalm 34:8)Bible Light Bulb Image

“Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower thereof falls away: but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” 1 Peter 1:22-25

OldRuggedCross_B&WMost will readily acknowledge that people lie, and we might even admit we too are prone to talebearing from time to time, yet somehow there’s this strange belief within each of us that says our feelings will never lie. But nothing could be further from the truth. Feelings lie more than any of us probably care to admit. 

How many times have we heard, “Go with your heart”, “Trust your gut”, “Let your heart lead you”, etc.? Yet, God’s Word very clearly reminds us that our hearts are far from trustworthy. They are self-centered, deceitfully wicked, and naturally bent toward getting what they want. Jeremiah 17:9.

Feelings are far from objective. They are fickle and focused on keeping all the attention on themselves. As Christians, we often struggle against our natural emotions. Many times we have a godly desire to faithfully follow the Lord, yet find ourselves having to push our natural emotions out of the way. One author correctly compared feelings to a room full of crying babies. If you were to continually hold them, the babies would be satisfied, but at the end of the day you would be completely tired out and the babies would’ve only learned that crying will get them the attention they desire. Sure there are appropriate times to hold a baby, but just like  parents must train their little ones, so too we must learn to train our fleshly feelings. If we spend our entire lives holding or indulging our feelings, we’ll become nothing less than a helpless, hopeless slave to them.

Praise the Lord we do not have to rely on the world’s methods to do the training! Instead, we have the eternal and magnificent power of the Holy Spirit and the marvelously sufficient Word of God!  Jesus desires all His children be sanctified (set apart) by the truth of God’s living and active Word.(Psalm 119:9John 17:17)  He has not left us as orphans to figure it out on our own. He has graciously given us His Holy Spirit to daily and powerfully transform us into His image. (John 14:18-26;2 Corinthians 3:18)  First, we must be honest and admit that our fleshly feelings don’t always tell the truth, that they only have their best interest in mind.  Then we must continually capture our thoughts (and emotions), nailing them to the cross of Christ, knowing only Jesus can cleanse us, oftentimes even from our foolish feelings.  (Matthew 16:24;2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

The world spends literally billions of dollars a year to produce in people certain emotional connections to it’s philosophies, methods, and products.  Why?  Because it knows very well that once we’ve attached an emotion to an idea or product, we’ll have a very difficult time letting go.  Oh, how true this is!  May we let the Lord Jesus Christ break these attachments, allowing us to finally enjoy the freedom and liberty we have in Christ!  Freedom from the flesh! Freedom from Satan! Freedom from Sin! Freedom to keep in step with Jesus, knowing soon we’ll be able to see Him face to face, with only godly feelings flowing from Heaven’s throne, filling our hearts and minds! What a glorious day that will be!!!

Until that day, may we say like Paul, “I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

“The LORD knows the thoughts of man, that they are vanity. Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O LORD, and teach out of Your law…” Psalms 94:11-12

“O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his steps.” Jeremiah 10:23

“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ; if so be that you have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:17-24

“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36

bible-verses-about-loveEvery born again believer who has been saved for any length of time is most likely familiar with Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” The question, especially for a person influenced by Calvinism, is why is Romans 3:23 where it is in the Bible? It might seem pretty obvious why a verse explaining that everyone has fallen short of God’s glory is both in the Bible and in Romans 3, however, as we know, every Scripture must be read and understood in context of the verses before and after it.

Let’s first consider verses 21-22. “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference…” All Christians, regardless of their Calvinistic predilections, would agree that the “all” in verse 23 means all. But as verses 21 and 22 explain, the whole reason verse 23 is where it is in the Bible is to support verse 22. Verse 23 deals with all having sinned which is the foundation for verse 22’s claim that all have the opportunity to at least believe the Gospel for there is NO DIFFERENCE for ALL have sinned. Again, the “all” in verse 23 means all to support the all in verse 22 meaning all. It might be just as well said, “If all had not sinned, then the righteousness of God would not be available to all who believe.”

When the reader allows Scripture, not man’s teachings, to define Scripture, then he is left with only one conclusion here. The righteousness of God is not attainable through the works of the law, but is only accessible by placing his faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. The person who desires to be righteous must believe in Jesus Christ. Who qualifies for such an invitation? Sinners. How many sinners qualify? All sinners. Why? Because there is no difference for ALL HAVE SINNED.  At least that is what these verses say.

But then one might argue, “If men can actually believe, then they can boast in their work of belief.” Again, what does Romans 3 conclude?  Verses 27-28 say, “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

Side Note: These last verses speak of the law of faith, not grace. Why? Because this portion of Scripture is focused on mankind’s need to believe. We are not justified here by so-called “irresistible grace”, rather by Jesus, in Whom all sinners can at least direct their belief/faith, hence the law of faith. Interestingly, Calvinism’s T.U.L.I.P. has no room for the this crucial law.

Deeper Obedience

Open BibleObedience sometimes sounds like a dirty word, especially in today’s post modern world. However whether we want to admit it or not, we all obey a master. We will either be a slave to sin or a bond servant to the Creator of the universe and Savior of mankind. For the forgiven sinner washed in the blood of the Lamb, this truth is understood and readily embraced. The challenge for those who have been born again by the power of God is that we too often forget that our own obedience must go beyond mere outward actions to something much deeper.

This is a tough subject to cover in a small post. Please do not think for one minute that this writer is giving permission to walk in disobedience toward God or those in authority, but there is a deeper obedience revealed in Scripture, one far beyond the confines of this physical body. We are called not only to offer God our bodies (the outward), but first and foremost our hearts and minds (the inward). “My son, give Me thine heart.” Proverbs 23:26. The reality remains, if we’ve truly given the Lord our hearts, then outward obedience ought to follow.

Jesus came from above, leaving His Heavenly throne, demonstrating total and true obedience to His Father in Heaven. Jesus taught the truth of God’s glory and man’s utter need for Him in hopes of exposing and rooting out the hypocrisy of those living under the appearance of obedience, but inwardly denying the Lord of glory. “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men.” Isaiah 29:13.  Again, Matthew 15:7-13 plainly reveals this truth. “You hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, This people draws nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honors Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. And [Jesus] called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: not that which goes into the mouth defiles a man; but that which comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man. Then came His disciples, and said unto Him, Knowest Thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But [Jesus] answered and said, Every plant, which My heavenly Father has not planted, shall be rooted up.”

It’s easy, especially in today’s Christianity, to fall into one of two basic categories: liberal or religious Christianity. Liberal Christian philosophy is rooted in allegorizing God’s Word and is often times viewed as the most malignant intruder to the true body of Christ. The other, although practiced by many, is the one Jesus actually spoke most harshly against. Ironically, although religious “Christianity” darns a thick cloak of righteous living, too often it’s unrighteous fruit is ripe, thriving in a toxic and tradition-based environment. Religious “Christianity” brings the outward appearance of obedience, yet just as with the Pharisees and other religious leaders of old, the heart is far from the True and Living God.  In Scripture, this is said to be a form of godliness, but denying the power there of. (2 Timothy 3:5) Sadly, the man-centered doctrines of religious righteousness reach into many avenues of all our attitudes and actions.

Besides the two categories mentioned above, there is a third option only chosen by a few, one that is neither based on man’s reasoning nor religious conformity. This third option could be called the deeper Christian life. For most born again believers, the desire to obey the Lord is important, making it easy to confuse outward conformity with inward transformation. The religious wolves know this all too well, preying on unsuspecting sheep by teaching them the traditions of men for the doctrines of God. Instead, the Lord came to liberate mankind from this hypocrisy, eradicating error and rooting out unrighteousness by giving all who would choose to receive Him a new spiritual heart and mind, a soul and spirit centered on Heaven with Christ as their one true Light. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2. “Forasmuch as you are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” 2 Corinthians 3:3. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26.

The inward transformation found in this deeper life brings to light a deeper obedience, one that truly requires the illumination of the Holy Spirit. Even though outward obedience, that is to say conformity, seems best, sometimes simply following what others claim to be the letter of the law causes us to entirely miss the life of the true law. The Pharisees chided Jesus more than once concerning this. “Why do Thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.” Matthew 15:2. Another time the hungry disciples picked grain on the Sabbath. “And it came to pass, that [Jesus] went through the corn fields on the Sabbath day; and His disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the Sabbath day that which is not lawful?” Mark 2:23-24.  The Pharisees were so busy walking by sight, desiring outward conformity, that they were blinded to the reality of the Living Word literally right before their eyes!

One of the best Old Testament examples of this deeper, inward obedience is found in Exodus 32-33. Here’s an insightful exchange between the Lord God and Moses.  In Chapter 32, the Israelites grew weary of waiting for Moses as he spoke with God, turning instead to false gods. “And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.” Exodus 32:1.  Tragically, while the Lord was sharing His glorious Word with Moses, the people were at the bottom of the mount breaking the very first and greatest of all God’s commands.

God grew angry at the people’s deep rebellion, “And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.” (verses 9-10). God then specifically commanded Moses to leave Him alone so He could consume the wicked people.  God also told Moses He would make a great nation of him, forgoing His previous promise to Abraham. Moses could have easily obeyed God, reasoning within himself that God told him to do these things therefore they must be done. Moses could have taken the outwardly obedient route.  After all, God gave him specific orders, yet Moses chose to go a deeper way. He could have left the mountain and told himself he was obeying God. After all, God told him to leave.  But the deeper path was one guided by loving discernment, not outward observation. Moses desired the God of His commands even more than God’s commands, lighting his path directly to the Lord.

Did Moses leave and allow God to destroy all the people? No. Instead Moses drew even closer to the Lord, speaking to Him in spirit and truth!  He then lovingly brought the law and judgment of God to the people, giving them opportunity to repent. After that, Moses returned to the Lord, interceding on the people’s behalf.  What a great picture of Jesus!  What an amazing picture of selfless love, first for God and then for the people! No wonder God called Moses His friend! God’s love ought to be our true motivation for obedience and Moses is an excellent example of this deeper life, one that is not based on empty, outward conformity, but on a genuine and deep, deep love for God above all else.

At the end of Chapter 32, the Lord commanded Moses, “Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.”  After the Lord dealt with the people’s sin, Chapter 33 reveals the beauty of what comes from this deeper walk with God!  “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. 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. And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle. And Moses said unto the LORD, See, Thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and Thou hast not let me know whom Thou wilt send with me. Yet Thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray Thee, if I have found grace in Thy sight, shew me now Thy way, that I may know Thee, that I may find grace in Thy sight: and consider that this nation is Thy people. And He said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he said unto him, If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and Thy people have found grace in Thy sight? is it not in that Thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and Thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth. And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. And he said, I beseech Thee, shew me Thy glory. And He said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee…” Exodus 33:8-19  [Emphasis mine]

Oh, to know Jesus so deeply, so intimately that we desire nothing less than Him!  Moses deeply and obediently sought the Lord above all and God blessed him with His rest and presence. Moses desired nothing less than the glory of God and the Lord rewarded him by revealing His glorious goodness found in His name alone! The Lord blessed Moses with the knowledge of God. The Lord Himself was and is and always will be the true reward and marvelous treasure discovered by every saint choosing to walk in deep obedience unto Him!

“O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best! ’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest! O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;  and it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!” (“Oh, the Deep, Deep Love” ~S. Trevor Francis)

“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22

“For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:16-17

“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; my ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of Me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:6-8

God's Word First“Faith has nothing to do with feelings or with impressions, with improbabilities or with outward experiences. If we desire to couple such things with faith, then we are no longer resting on the Word of God, because faith needs nothing of the kind. Faith rests on the naked Word of God. When we take Him at His Word, the heart is at peace.” George Mueller

“I prayed for Faith, and thought that some day Faith would come down and strike me like lightning. But Faith did not seem to come.

One day I read in the tenth chapter of Romans, “Now Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” I had closed my Bible, and prayed for Faith. I now opened my Bible, and began to study, and Faith has been growing ever since.”   ~D. L. Moody

 

 

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