Faith: Jesus–The Ultimate Faith

Sunbeam on road

Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” John 5:19

So they took the away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” John 11:41-42

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42

After looking at several people of faith through the Old and New Testament, we come to one who has the perfect, ultimate faith–Jesus. It is only because of Jesus that anyone can be saved and have a real faith in God.

Although volumes could be written on the faith of Jesus and throughout the gospels there are many examples of Him showing faith, I will only be looking at a couple of areas. Each of these are things Jesus said and did that showed His faith in the Father.

Looking at John 5:19 Jesus states what faith looks like, although He does not use the word ‘faith’ in His comment. He states that he only does what He sees the Father doing. Although this is talking about seeing, and faith is about not seeing, this does show faith also.

Summer beach

Doing only what God is doing is showing faith that you believe that what God is doing is the best thing to do. Think about this for a minute. Often we state that we believe God, but then He tells us to do something and what do we do? We begin to question it, rather than have faith and believe it.

God is never going to ask you to do something that is not in your best interest. Whatever you do should bring you or someone else closer to God. Your life is to be a light shining the gospel message of Jesus to this world.

In order to be that shining light, you must have faith in God. You must have faith in what Jesus said and did. You must have faith that what God said He will do. Jesus did all these things.

Lighting a candle

Now let’s look at one time Jesus showed His faith in the Father. It is found in the story of Lazarus dying and Jesus raising him from the dead. Lazarus had been dead and buried for several days. In the eyes of the world, there was no more hope for him, it was over. Yet, Jesus goes to raise him from the dead.

As He gets ready to raise Lazarus up, He talks to the Father out loud. He thanks God for hearing Him. This was done to be a witness to the people. Jesus was saying that He had faith in that the Father would hear Him and do what was needed to be done.

As soon as Jesus had said this, He called Lazarus to rise up and come out of the grave. Lazarus did rise from the dead immediately.

Grave empty

You can have that same faith today. Listen to what God is saying and doing and then do the same things. God will hear you and answer your prayers, when offered in faith, believing. These are not selfish prayers, but prayers and actions that do what God is wanting to do.

The final act of faith that Jesus portrayed was when He was in the garden preparing for His death upon the cross. When He was going to die upon the cross, He would go through not only physical pain, but emotional and spiritual suffering.

Think about this for a moment, Jesus had been with His Father for all eternity and now He would be separated for a time from Him. Not only would He be separated, but Jesus would also have to bear all the anger of God against all sin of all mankind for all time.

Japanese garden

While Jesus was in the garden preparing for the death, He actually asks the Father if there could be some other way to do what needed to be done. Yet, He did not stop there. Jesus was willing to do what the Father said needed to be done–die on the cross.

You may be wondering now how does this show faith. Good question. It shows faith, because Jesus was going to be struck by His Father with great anger and wrath. He was going to be killed.

For most people, when they die it is over. There is no more life. There appears to be no more hope.

To walk forward into death appears to be giving up, suicidal. Yet, Jesus had faith that God would raise Him from the dead when it was over. He had faith that this was the best way to save every person on this earth. He had to have faith that the Father knew He was perfect and did not have to die for His own sins and stay dead.

Direct path

How can this help you? Just as Jesus went forward to a extremely painful death upon the cross for you, you must be willing to go forward with what God has planned for your life.

There will be times that God will ask you to step forward into doing something that may appear to be the finish line for you. It may look like death to you. It can be scary and painful. Yet, it is what is best for you and everyone else.

Do not back down, but go forward in faith, believing, as Jesus did, that what He asked you to do is the best thing to do. Jesus gave His Holy Spirit to empower you and guide you in the ways of God. He did not leave you alone. Have faith that God is with you.

Father son walking

When you are struggling in life or God asks you to do something crazy, think about what Jesus did. Look at His faith and draw upon it for yourself. Go forward with the faith of Jesus in your life and walk with God. Have the ultimate faith!

Faith: Against Reason–Mary And Joseph

Angel vision

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” Luke 1:34

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. Matthew 1:24 

Many people know the story about Mary and Joseph, but few really think about the faith of each and what faith it must have taken to move forward as they did.

Mary was probably a teenage girl who was in an engagement to get married to Joseph. The time of the wedding was some time off. One night an angel appears to her and tells her that she will be pregnant with a boy who would become the savior of the world.

Pregnant lady

She immediately asks a legitimate question ‘How?’. This did not make sense to her, since she was a virgin. Mary obeyed the law and stayed pure for her wedding day.

The angel stated that it would happen by the Holy Spirit of God coming upon her. And it happens.

Now she has to face a dilemma. What is she to do? How will she bring this news to Joseph? How will he take it? How will she tell her parents? Her friends? What will the neighbors think? What will the priests think and do?

Her life is now in danger. During those days, once a person was engaged to be married, it was as if they were married. To have sexual relations outside of marriage was punishable by death because it would be considered adultery.

Yet, she had to trust God and move forward knowing what God had told her and knowing she was innocent, regardless of what may happen or what people may say.

Joseph also had a dilemma to deal with. Now he finds out that she is pregnant. He is a God-fearing, law abiding citizen and good upstanding in the community. What will people think and say of him? What will people think and say of her? What about his position in the community? What about his stand for God? What will the priests think and do when they find out? How will this affect him?

Question mark

He chooses to quietly divorce her and let her go her way without any direct punishment.

Yet, God has other plans. The angel appears to Joseph also, and tells him that what is happening is of God’s work. Immediately Joseph did what the angel does, trusting God, having faith that God knows what He is doing, despite how bad it looks on the outside. Joseph does not divorce Mary, nor does he go into hiding or run away.

God’s ways and thoughts are above our ways and thoughts. He sees a picture that is much bigger and clearer than we could ever see.

Jigsaw puzzle in pieces

There may be times when God will ask you to do something that will go against the cultural norms of the day, in fact, that will happen the majority of the time. He calls His people to be different, to stand out in this dark world as a light.

Light is different than darkness. It exposes, where darkness hides. As a believer there will be times when God will use you to reach this lost, dark world for Him.

God used Mary and Joseph to reach the world by telling them that they will raise the boy who would become the Savior of the world. He would be the long prophesied and awaited Messiah to come.

Split road

As you are a witness, there will be people who will not understand. They will not see the bigger picture. At times it may look like you are crazy and doing something wrong, though you are following God correctly.

Going against the cultural norms of this fallen, dark world can be dangerous. It may threaten your job, your position in the community, your title, and even your family. Sometimes it will be with just words, while other times it could be a physical threat. Regardless of how it happens, there is danger when you have faith in God and are following Him with a sincere heart.

Satan and this world do not want you to be successful in God’s eyes. They want you to fail. Yet, you must step up to the plate and move forward, trusting God. This is faith.

Just as with Mary and Joseph raising Jesus, God has a job for you to do. You may only touch a few people or millions directly, but through you, God can touch change the world. Be willing to step out in faith, following God when everything about it does not look right and sounds crazy. God is with you. Keep the faith!

Faith For Provision: Widow At Zarephath

Widowed woman

She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah. 1 Kings 17:15-16 

During a severe famine in the land, God had told Elijah to go to a certain widow in Zarephath for his provision of food. There he asked the lady for some food. The woman said that she had only a little food left for one meal, then she and her son would die from starvation.

Think about this for a moment. Here is a lady and her son about to eat their last meal and die and this guy comes up to her and wants her to make him some food first. This sounds selfish and rude. Most people would tell him to get lost or sorry that they cannot give him any food.

Pancakes

Giving up the last of something you have to a complete stranger would be difficult to do, especially if it meant life or death for you or someone else you love. In order to do something like this, it would take a great step of faith. You would have to first know that you are doing what God wants, then you would have to trust that God would meet your needs.

Elijah told her to trust that God would provide and still to make the food for him. The widow chose to trust Elijah and God and decided to make the food for Elijah. As she made the food, somehow God continued to provide the needed oil and flour to keep making more food.

Man stepping of cliff

Stepping out into faith will sometimes require to give up something that you need. In doing this, you are trusting God to meet that need in some other way.

Often people trust their own abilities to meet their personal needs. They trust their job, bank account, experience, and more, rather than have faith in God. Choosing to do your own thing will not show faith in God, but faith in self. In the process of trusting self, you will not be able to see the provision of God in your life.

A life of faith will not be focused on self. It will be focused on what you can do for others knowing that God will meet your needs. When Jesus came to this earth, He came focused on serving life to every person. He trusted His Father to take care of Him and meet His needs. This included laying down His life. He had faith, that if He laid down His life for others, God would raise it back up again. And He did.

Empty tomb

If the widow had not trusted Elijah and God, then that meal most likely would have been her last meal. God would not have provided for her, because she would not have trusted in Him, but in her own abilities. Yet, her actions of trust allowed God to provide abundantly for her needs.

As you see a need in someone else’s life, you may have the ability to meet it, but in the process may create a need of your own. In seeing this, you may not see how you can help the other person out, without jeopardizing your own life. This is where faith steps in. Trust God to meet your needs.

In the same way you may be meeting the need of someone else, God may have another person waiting to meet your need. Or God may doing some miracle to provide for your need as you step out in faith.

Helping hands

Do not hold back helping someone else out when you have the ability. This is a way to shine God’s love and provision into the life of another person. It is also a great act of faith on your part. Trusting God to touch the other person through you. Trusting God to meet your needs. Trusting God to help you provide for others.

Think about ways you can step up to help meet the needs of someone else. How can God use you to touch someone else’s life? If God could provide for he widow…If God provided for you in the past…then God can provide for you again in your time of need. Trust Him. Have faith in His abilities.

Faith: Put To The Test

Rough waters

Instead of continuing the study on faith using people from the bible this week, I have chosen to talk a little about my life right now and faith. As I stated when I first started this study, I was nervous about what I would have to face when talking about having faith. With having my devotional part of my blog just finishing looking at the book of Job and now I am starting this study on faith, my faith is being put to the test.

If things could go wrong, they appear to be doing so. I spent a wonderful weekend last weekend on a get-a-way with my wife. During that time we were able to spend a lot of time together, just being together and talking. We also got a lot of much needed rest.

Dog tired

Because of the various jobs I work, I already get only about five hours of sleep on the average day, not enough! But I have learned to work with that. I look forward to the few days each week I can either sleep in or take an extra nap. However, since that get-a-way, I have only been able to get about 3 hours of sleep a night, even less than not enough.

A few weeks ago a friend of ours blessed us with a new, more efficient dishwasher. All I had to do was pick it up and install it myself. I have installed many dishwashers over the years and usually it only take about 30 minutes to install one.

Dishwasher install

After having to wait a while to be able to pick it up, I was finally able to do so a few days ago. I figured it would only take about the normal 30 minutes to take out the old one and put in the new one. WRONG!

I ran into various problems removing the old one. It refused to want to come out of its location. That alone took about 40 minutes.

Then I had to install the new one. Again after having multiple challenges on getting it in and hooked up, it took about another 1 1/2 hours to finish. This was done in the evening. I finally got to bed at about 10:30pm. I had to be up to get ready for work at about 1:00 am. I was exhausted.

Along with that job from home, I had another job to do the next day with extra work outside in 100 degree heat! Between the two jobs I did not get any sleep. This is where faith kicked in. I had to trust God to give me strength to do what needed to be done.

Amazingly I was not exhausted while working either job, or driving back home after the jobs. However, as soon as I sat down that evening I started to fall asleep, totally exhausted. This was Tuesday when I worked all day with very little sleep.

Then on Wednesday, our van decided to have a problem. It came to us a few years ago with the rear bumper sides tore up from an accident. Para-cord was used to hold it together. It has worked very well since it was put on. Well, the para-cord chose to break loose, causing the bumper to ride on the tire slightly while driving slowly or in a turn.

Duct taped fender

This had to be fixed quickly or more serious damage could occur. While at church Wednesday night, my son-in-law and his father, chose to help us out. They were able to get it tied back up fairly solid. This was a great blessing, but it also meant another very late night in getting to bed. I was able to get about 3 hours of sleep.

The following morning, Thursday, I started working at teaching online. Almost immediately into the first class, I started having internet connection problems. Our internet was running too slow. For my teaching it is live video feed and cannot be slow at all.

Normally when our house satellite internet is poor, I will jump to hotspot from my phone, however, my phone only had 4g connection rate. Way too slow for what I needed. Usually it has LTE speeds that work just fine, but the last few days it has been very slow for some unknown reason.

Sleeping sloth

This meant constant problems with staying connected strong enough to do the classes. I had eight 25 minute classes, back-to-back, to do. As I was struggling through each one I got to the last class. Just as I entered the classroom, my computer decided to crash and shut down for a reboot.

It took nearly 20 minutes for the laptop to reboot, making me so late for class it is most likely to be listed as a teacher no show. With the company I work for, I am only allowed two no-shows in a six month period before being terminated. This will be a first for me in over two years and 2,000 classes taught.

To say the least I was very angry. I let my old self take over and I began to say and do things that were not right. I was not in control and was not allowing God to be in control. I had lost my faith that God knew what was going on and was still with me. I lost faith that God had this in His plans all along and had something in store for me.

Milky way at night

After a while of being able to take a step back and really look at everything, I was able to calm down. I began to realize that in the light of eternity, these hard days are just the light and momentary troubles that Paul talked about.

God is in control, regardless of how things look on this earth. He has a plan for me and it is for my good. Everything that I am going through is there for me to be built up in Jesus Christ, or to build someone else up in Jesus. I have to have faith in this, otherwise my faith in God is pointless and I really don’t have faith in God.

God is allowing my faith in Him to be tested, to find out if I really believe what I know and teach, or if it is just a bunch of words. I trust that I will come out of this shining for God as His witness, as Job had done.

Take a look at your own life and think about the struggles you have been through or maybe are going through right now. Know that God is right there beside you and will never leave you, nor forsake you. Know that God has your best interest in mind when He allows things to happen, both good and bad. God uses all these things for His glory or your best.

Worship God

Have faith knowing these things. Have faith know God is really in control of everything. Have faith knowing that God will take care of your despite all the problems in life. There will still be challenges, but God is with you.

Give God praise for His faithfulness as you have faith in Him.

 

Joseph: Faith-God Is In Control

Handcuffed hands

So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of Egypt. Genesis 45:8 

The next person of faith that I want to look at is Joseph. It is not common to think of him as a person of faith, but he was. I will quickly retell his story leading up to why he is a man of faith and how his faith looks.

Joseph grew up as the youngest for many years in a large family of twelve plus children. Not only was he the youngest, but he was much younger than the rest of his brothers. He was different in that God had given him visions, even at a young age.

Some of the visions he had been given had made his brothers angry with him. They realized that the visions meant that at some point in the future they would bow down to him. In their anger they were about to kill him, but was stopped by one of the brothers. Instead they sold Joseph into slavery.

Abu Simbel temple

Despite being in slavery, God was with him and gave him great favor. He had started out being the head of the house of Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials and captain of the guard. This was a very high and honored position to have. Potiphar trusted him completely.

However, Potiphar’s wife tried to get Joseph sexually. Joseph refused and she had him falsely accused and thrown into prison.

Even while in prison, God was still with Joseph and continued to give him favor. He was made the head of all the prisoners because of his faithfulness. Yet, he was still a prisoner, locked up in prison for a false accusation against him.

While in prison, two prisoners had a vision and were unable to understand what the vision was about. God gave Joseph favor and gave him the meaning of the visions. Both of the visions became true.

Human eye

Later, Pharaoh had some visions and no one could interpret them. One of the released prisoners then remembered Joseph interpreting his dream and mentioned him to Pharaoh. He brought Joseph out of the prison to get the interpretation. Again, God gave Joseph favor and he was able to interpret the dream for Pharaoh.

Pharaoh then honored Joseph and made him second, only to him over all of Egypt. Joseph was the person who would save Egypt and much of the world during a very long famine in the land. It was Egypt that would provide food needed by people from many nations.

Some time later, his brothers came to Egypt looking to get some food. Immediately Joseph recognized his brothers, but did not reveal the fact until later, because they did not recognize him. They thought he was either dead or in slavery yet.

When Joseph did reveal himself, he told them not to worry about what they had done wrong to him, but that it was all God’s doing. God had put him into slavery in order to get him to Egypt, in order to have him in position to save Egypt and the world from a famine.

Egypt pyramids

This is where his faith comes in.

It is commonly thought that when a person becomes a Christian believer in Jesus that everything will go alright, that there will be no problems. It sounds nice. Think about it God is with you, He will protect you, and He will meet all of your needs. Why should anyone think anything different?

Yet, this is not the truth. Yes, God is with you, is protecting you and is meeting all of your needs, but the process may be through tough times. God is also going to use you to meet the needs of others. In order for that to happen, you may have to be moved or have to go through something to get you in the right position to be able to meet those needs.

Being moved into a downward position does not always make sense. Why would God move someone down, when He said He would lift a person up? God gave Joseph a vision that he would rule over his brothers. Why would God make him a slave then?

Puzzle pieces

God sees the bigger picture. He is standing above all watching what is happening and is able to know where each person needs to be to fulfill His work. We, as people at the bottom of the picture, or in the picture, cannot see the full picture. We cannot always understand what God is doing or why He is doing it. We cannot always understand why God is allowing certain things to happen in our lives.

This is where faith comes in. Remember, faith is being certain of what you cannot see. Joseph could not fully see what God was doing, but He had faith that God was in control. Instead of blaming his brothers, he was able to see that it was God’s hand that moved him to where he was in the way that it occurred.

God may have placed a vision or a dream in your heart as to what He wants from you. As you strive to achieve that dream, you may have to go down a different path that appears to move you further away from it. You may have to go through some difficult times to achieve that vision.

During those difficult times, do not give up on God. Do not lose faith in God. Have faith in God, knowing that He is still in control and knows what He is doing.

Burning car

Do not allow yourself to become bitter because of the circumstances you may be going through or have already been through. Everything that you go through is meant to build you up in Jesus–to make you more like Jesus. It can expose areas that need to be worked on, areas that need to be strengthened, areas that need to be removed and cleaned up, and areas that can be honored and broadcast.

Every believer has some area to improve on to become more like Jesus. No one is perfectly like Him, so there is room to grow. Trust that God is in control and is working towards that goal–that is faith in God.

Looking up

Seek God to understand why you are going through tough times or had gone through tough times. Find out how you can use those tough times for His glory and His kingdom.

This is faith. You cannot fully see the whole picture, but can know that God does. God is working all things out for your good. Have faith that this is true and will always be true.