Tag Archives: belief

Genesis 41; Mark 11; Job 7; Romans 11

When the going gets tough, the tough get going, right? What happens when we see mountains impossible to climb or when broken legs won’t carry us over the mountain? Our lives crescendo and crash through the years that God has given us to live. Have we met these ups and downs with stoicism and personal effort or have we sunk to our knees in humble, steadfast trust in God? Joseph, Job, and Christ instruct us when we are challenged by difficult circumstances in life.

Joseph’s life story records how circumstances take him from being the favored son with his multi-colored robe to nearly being murdered in a pit, from being the over-seer in Pharaoh’s house to being thrown in a dungeon for a crime he did not commit, and finally from being elevated to the second most powerful man in the king’s court to falling on the neck of his brothers, forgiving and washing them with his tears . In Genesis 41:16, we get a clue on how Joseph could rise time and time again. He told Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” Joseph lived what he preached.

Still we question that God should be interested in the lives of ordinary men. Job 7:17-18, asked, “What is man, that You should exalt him, That You should set Your heart on him, That You should visit him every morning, And test him every moment?” Sometimes, if we are honest, we may wish that we were not the focus of God’s attention. We may join in Job’s query (7:21), “Why then do You not pardon my transgression, And take away my iniquity?” This intimate picture of Job communing with God alludes to God walking and talking with Adam in the Garden of Eden.  The changed relationship between God and man after the fall has man instinctively fearing God’s gaze. Desperate cries of, “How long?” explode from bodies wrecked with chronic pain, disabling disease, ongoing trauma, or depression, anxiety, and a host of other disorders that interfere with daily functioning. Do we plead as did Job that God would take His eyes off us, forgive us, and end the suffering? Job acknowledged that man can do nothing to save himself and that we depend on God to save us. Can we trust that God understands our physical, spiritual, and emotional vulnerability on this earth?

Unequivocally, the answer is YES! Christ’s saving work on the cross punctuated the truth of His words…words that affirm, comfort, and empower us: Mark 11:22, 24, “Have faith in God. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” The cursed, fruitless fig tree that withered from the roots up overnight was meant to be a teachable moment on faith, prayer, and belief. Jesus could just as easily have said to the fig tree, “Feed my followers,” similar to His miracle with feeding the five thousand. How amazing and satisfying it would have been to see the fig tree branches heavy laden with large, ripe, and delicious figs practically popping into the hands and pockets of His apostles.  Yet seeking to more than quiet the noise of their empty bellies, Christ adjured His followers to have faith in God the Father, who will answer when we pray with belief that God is for us. Christ tells us that this is so. What now should we believe?

Faith does move mountains; prayer is a powerful change agent; and belief in the salvation of Christ is how the tough will stay committed to seeing this earthly walk with God all the way through. Romans 11:33 declares, “Oh, the depth of the riches of both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” So when the going gets tough, the tough should really get down on their knees. “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever,” (Romans 11:36).

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

All Scripture quoted from The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Job, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, Old Testament, Romans, Uncategorized

Zechariah 9-11, 1 John 5

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” 1 John 5:13-14

“Mom, how can I know for sure that I will go to heaven when I die? How do I know I am really a Christian?” As my children grow older and begin putting the pieces of their faith and belief together, their understanding increases as well as the curiosity. They don’t automatically take everything at face value anymore and their questions are endless but come in spurts, mixed with times of thinking. Many of their questions are ones I remember asking, myself. And even today, there are many I still cannot answer.

But this passage in 1 John is brilliant. It’s an answer that brings life and hope. John writes specifically to believers who may be struggling with knowing deep down that they are saved. I have to admit, this is definitely an area that I have struggled with from time to time so I’m comforted by the fact that the early believers were asking the same questions. I recently read a story about John Wesley and how early on in his faith he struggled with the same feelings to the point where he admitted he must not be a Christian!

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” 1 John 5:1-5

Our Savior, Jesus did not come as expected with royal kingship. He didn’t enter the city on a chariot and rule and reign the way our feeble minds would have expected.

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
    Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
    righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
    and the war horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off,
    and he shall speak peace to the nations;
his rule shall be from sea to sea,
    and from the River[c] to the ends of the earth.” Zechariah 9:9-10

Like the early church, like children, we try to put the pieces of our faith together using our own logic and miss the point completely. Instead of relying on our own understanding, let us look to Him, the author and finisher of our faith. He gave us His Word and the Holy Spirit for understanding. Let us lean on the truth we find there instead of our own logic.

Thank you, Father for your true Word. Thank you for revealing the mysteries of our faith through your Holy Spirit. Thank you for sending your own Son to become our salvation! Help us build our faith by learning your Word and hiding it in our hearts. Amen.

 

Kate

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Zechariah 9-11, 1 John 5

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” 1 John 5:13-14

“Mom, how can I know for sure that I will go to heaven when I die? How do I know I am really a Christian?” As my children grow older and begin putting the pieces of their faith and belief together, their understanding increases as well as the curiosity. They don’t automatically take everything at face value anymore and their questions are endless but come in spurts, mixed with times of thinking. Many of their questions are ones I remember asking, myself. And even today, there are many I still cannot answer.

But this passage in 1 John is brilliant. It’s an answer that brings life and hope. John writes specifically to believers who may be struggling with knowing deep down that they are saved. I have to admit, this is definitely an area that I have struggled with from time to time so I’m comforted by the fact that the early believers were asking the same questions. I recently read a story about John Wesley and how early on in his faith he struggled with the same feelings to the point where he admitted he must not be a Christian!

 

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” 1 John 5:1-5

 

Our Savior, Jesus did not come as expected with royal kingship. He didn’t enter the city on a chariot and rule and reign the way our feeble minds would have expected.

 

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
and the war horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off,
and he shall speak peace to the nations;
his rule shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River[c] to the ends of the earth.” Zechariah 9:9-10

Like the early church, like children, we try to put the pieces of our faith together using our own logic and miss the point completely. Instead of relying on our own understanding, let us look to Him, the author and finisher of our faith. He gave us His Word and the Holy Spirit for understanding. Let us lean on the truth we find there instead of our own logic.

Thank you, Father for your true Word. Thank you for revealing the mysteries of our faith through your Holy Spirit. Thank you for sending your own Son to become our salvation! Help us build our faith by learning your Word and hiding it in our hearts. May we approach your throne with confidence! Amen.

 

 

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Leviticus 4-7; Hebrews 3

Last weekend, I drove my daughter to a friend’s birthday party. It was at a gymnastics facility. I wasn’t familiar with the area, so I used my GPS. As we set out, the system directed me on a route that turned out to be a dead end because of a road closure. After a series of turns, the system recalculated my route, took me into a residential area, and directed me to take a left onto a road that didn’t even exist. In fact, this left turn would take me through a barricade and into a vacant, grassy lot.

We were lost. We were late. And I was frustrated. I didn’t even know my way home. (As I tried to navigate my way out of this neighborhood, to my amusement and surprise, the GPS announced we had reached our destination–and after a series of turns and about half a block later, we had.)

I thought long on the life parallel: the places we end up quite on accident by following faulty directions.

Hebrews 3 reminds–Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your heart.

The Israelites rebelled. They tested and tried God’s patience.

That is why the Holy Spirit says,

“Today when you hear his voice,
    don’t harden your hearts
as Israel did when they rebelled,
    when they tested me in the wilderness.
There your ancestors tested and tried my patience,
    even though they saw my miracles for forty years.
10 So I was angry with them, and I said,
‘Their hearts always turn away from me.
    They refuse to do what I tell them.’
11 So in my anger I took an oath:
    ‘They will never enter my place of rest.’”

12 Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. 13 You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. 14 For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. 15 Remember what it says:

“Today when you hear his voice,
    don’t harden your hearts
    as Israel did when they rebelled.”

16 And who was it who rebelled against God, even though they heard his voice? Wasn’t it the people Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And who made God angry for forty years? Wasn’t it the people who sinned, whose corpses lay in the wilderness? 18 And to whom was God speaking when he took an oath that they would never enter his rest? Wasn’t it the people who disobeyed him? 19 So we see that because of their unbelief they were not able to enter his rest. Hebrews 3:7-19, NLT.

Lord, this heart of mine is caught in a vicious war. It is assaulted and battered, churning on thoughts that certainly keep me out of your peace. I don’t want to follow a faulty path. In my faith journey, I want to rest confidently in who you are and what you can do. When thoughts try to lead me to dead ends, I want to remember your miracles and might. Thank you for the warning so that I won’t be deceived by sin and hardened against you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Hebrews

Ezekiel 7-9; John 3

Scripture:

John 3:16&17, 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Psalm 51: 1&2, 1  Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin (ESV)!

Observation:

According to John 3:16 & 17 salvation in Christ is a free gift given through belief in Jesus. It’s not going forward at a meeting. It’s not raising our hand. It’s simple belief. However it is not easy believism. That’s where passages like Psalm 51:1&2 come into play. Once we accept Jesus we realize what sinners we have been and our need for His salvation. Not that all of the Christian life is repentance and difficulties, but we do see our fair share come our way. If all we do is believe and get into heaven without doing much else, we’ll have eternal life through the love and blood of Jesus, but we won’t much be prepared for the world to come.

Application:

I wish that it could at times be as easy as it was in the beginning. I came to Christ as a young child. Those days were good and exciting. These days are too, but I am more in touch with how I can wander from God and need his transforming work done again and again in my life (not salvation, that’s once & for all). I look forward to the day when there will be no more sin or disappointment or struggle. When the promise of John 3:16 & 17 is total reality.

Prayer:

Father God I’m sorry for the wrong I do each day. Some of it is volitional sin, some is by inaction, but I sin and need Your forgiveness. Thank You that Your salvation comes by belief in what Jesus has done for me. In Jesus Name, Amen!

dmbaldwin

From the archives. Originally published May 13, 2012

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