Looking At Faith

Open door

A while back I asked the question of what my readers would like me to write on. If there was a subject or topic that they would like to hear about. One of the suggestions that came up was to talk about faith.

While I love talking about faith, it also scares me a bit to talk about faith. One thing that I have learned with teaching the Bible and doing this blog, is that I have to face in real life what I talk about. It is as though God says ‘you wrote this, now do you believe it and act upon it? Let’s find out.’ When my family is going through a difficult time, my wife can usually peg what I am teaching or writing about. This means that as I write about faith, I will have to step out in more faith.

I hope you come along with me on this journey to discover more about what faith is and what it means to have faith.

Faith is something that is not physical, but impacts every area of life for every person on this earth. It is something that every person has whether they admit it or not.

To begin this study of faith we must look at the greatest verse on what faith is:

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 

Hebrews 11-1

This verse is the beginning verse on what faith is. I will continually refer back to it throughout this study.

Just looking at this verse, it says that faith is two things: confidence and assurance. Let’s look at these two things closer.

Confidence is described as the feeling or belief that one can rely upon something or someone. It is complete, solid and firm trust in that something or someone.

The other word ‘assurance’ is described as a positive declaration intended to give confidence. It is a promise.

This confidence is found in what we hope for. This hope is not the desperate hope that many in the world have. ‘I hope that this will turn out right’. Hope is the knowing that something is going to happen. As believers we look forward to the return of Jesus. We look forward to a life in heaven with no more pain, suffering or death. We look forward to what life will be like some day.

We can know for sure that all that God has said He will do, He will do it! We can go to the bank on it and cash it in. God’s word is true and will never fail to be fulfilled in its time.

We also have assurance of what we do not see. No one can see heaven right now. No one can see Jesus right now. No one can see a perfect life with no more pain, suffering, sickness or death. Yet, it is there in the future. We can see it in the mind, but not physically. This is faith.

Many will claim to have no faith, yet, every person who has walked on this earth has had some faith. You have faith when you hit the light switch that the light will turn on. You have faith that the other driver will stay in his lane as he drives past you. You have faith that your boss will pay you your agreed upon salary when the work is done. You have faith that when you get out of bed, the floor will be there to step upon.

Now that I have given you a base line of what faith is and that you already have it, I will begin to move on to further study as to how to apply this faith as a believer. What does it mean to a believer? How does he use it?

In order to do this, I will be looking at the lives of different people throughout the Bible that show what faith looks like in action. I don’t know how many I will look at before I am finished with this study, but it will be a good number.

This study will be posted on Mondays when I can get it put together. I will strive to do this every Monday, until it is completed, but I may miss a Monday or so. Bear with me in patience as we begin this journey together in learning what faith is and how to apply it to our lives.

Ezra 7:10 Devoted To God’s Word

Study the bible

For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD,  and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel. Ezra 7:10 

Devotion to something is being committed to it. It is being willing to focus on whatever it is one is devoted to, regardless of what else is going on around. It is giving all of one’s time and attention to something.

People are devoted to many different things. Some common things people are devoted to are jobs, sports teams, and hobbies. Often these and other devotions are held so tightly that they can cause the expense of neglect in other areas of life.

Some things should hold this level of devotion, but are often not. Marriage devotion is often ignored. Time with God is often ignored. Many things that should be long-term or eternal are ignored in devotion.

Ezra was a priest during the time of Israel’s exile in Babylon. He had devoted himself to studying and teaching God’s laws to the people of Israel. Since he had devoted himself to God’s word, God’s hand of favor was upon him.

Although today there is grace the overrides the law of the Old Testament, God’s word is still to be used. Believers can devote themselves to studying His word and teaching others about it. This teaching is discipling others, which is what God commanded every believer to do–go and make disciples in all the world.

Studying God’s word does not mean one needs a bible college degree or cannot do other work, it is just taking time daily to get into His word and learn what it is says. It is more than just reading a verse or two each day and running on with the rest of the day. It is taking time to understand what it says and how to apply it  to life, then take that word to others.

You, like most people, may have some things that you are devoted to in your life. Your first devotion should be to God and His word. It is His word that lets you know what God wants and how to do it. Take time daily to focus on His word and apply it to your life. Then take time to share what you have learned with others.

Being devoted to His word is making God’s word a priority each day in your life.

Is God’s word a priority in your life?

I pray today that God will place a hunger for His word in your life; that God’s Holy Spirit will guide you in understanding His word; that you will apply God’s word to your life; and that you will share God’s word with everyone you meet.

Luke 1:3-4 Know For Yourself

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With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. Luke 1:3-4

Luke starts out his book as to why he is writing it. He was not one of the original twelve disciples of Jesus. Luke looked into everything about Jesus on his own and came up with his own conclusions. He chose to write it all down in order so that Theophilus could know everything about Jesus for certain.

Children grow up learning a lot of their information from their parents and the schools that they attend. Most will continue into adulthood believing what they were taught without questioning it in any way.

Not everything that is taught by parents or schools is entirely accurate. Currently many things are being taught to children that are inaccurate and can cause confusion as to what is the truth. Children, and many adults, do not take the time to determine what they really believe for themselves because it takes time and work.

This can also occur in Christian homes and the church. Many people grow up believing what their parents taught them. They only go to church because that is what their parents did. They only believe in Jesus because that is what their parents did. They also believe only because that is what the pastor of a church said. They have not found out what they believe for themselves.

Each person must take the time to personally know what the Bible says. He must take the time to find out who Jesus is and what He did. This takes reading the bible and studying it on a regular basis with lots of prayer.

You may have grown up in the church, or just started believing in Jesus. What do you believe and why do you believe it? Is it because someone else told you? Or is it because that is what the pastor says?

Or is it because that is what God’s word says?

Take time to read what the Bible says to find out what you believe and why you believe it. Look at what others teach and find out if it lines up with the Bible or not.

Luke wrote so Theophilus could know for certain, you can know also.

I pray today that you will know what the Bible teaches; that you will have a personal relationship with Jesus; that you will be able to answer why you believe what you believe; and that you will be a witness of Jesus to this world.

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Ezra 7:10 Devoted To God’s Word

For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel. Ezra 7:10

The new king of Persia, Artaxerxes, had provided Ezra with everything needed to build the temple and offer the required sacrifices. He also made a law that everyone had to worship God correctly. All these things were done because Ezra was dedicated to knowing, following and teaching God’s Word correctly.

Devotion is what makes the difference between someone being good at something or being great at it. There are many men that love to play football or golf, but only part-time. They like to play them once in a while on the weekends, but not every day, all day.

They can play the game, but not very well. Those who become professional at it or good enough to win small local tournaments, are devoted to the game. They practice daily, constantly learning how to improve their play.

The majority of believers in the church only open their Bible on Sunday morning as the pastor speaks. Then there are a few who read a few Bible verses each day. Even less, are those who are devoted to God’s Word. Those few study God’s Word daily, apply it to their lives, and tell others what it says.

Being devoted to God’s Word, means that you take time to study it fully to understand it. You then work to apply what you have learned from God’s Word to your own life. Once you have done these things, then you must tell others what you have learned.

Stopping short in any of these areas, keeps you from being devoted to God’s Word.

When you are not devoted to God’s Word, you will miss out on what God has for you. You will also cause others to miss what God has for them. Ultimately you will slow down or stop building God’s kingdom on this earth, which is the whole purpose of when Jesus came to this earth.

Take a look at your life. Are you devoted to God’s Word?

Or are you just a part-time partaker of God’s Word?

Do not make God’s Word just a temporary part of your life.

I pray today that God will give you a love for His Word; that God will open your eyes to His Word; that you will obey God’s Word; and that you will share God’s Word with others.

John 5:39-40 Where Do You Seek Life?

“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” John 5:39-40

Jesus is talking about how He and God the Father testifies about who He is. The people also heard John the Baptist testify about who He was. The people had heard about Jesus and seen what He had done, yet were not following Him.

They were studying the Scriptures. They knew all the verses and prophecies. They knew all the rules God had stated. They expected to find life in those Scriptures. They would not come to Jesus for that life they were searching for.

Times have not changed. Many people today will go to church every Sunday, be on the worship team, and study the Bible thoroughly seeking for life and meaning in life. Yet, they will not have a relationship with Jesus, the author of life.

Most people are trying to earn their salvation. They want to be “good enough” for God. They are trying to escape punishment from God.

You will never be good enough for God. You can never earn your salvation. You will never find life outside of Jesus.

Everything that you do must be based off of your belief in the salvation Jesus provided and your relationship with Him. Seek Jesus and you will find life.

Jesus did not come to punish or condemn. He came to give life and that abundantly. He is the mercy and love of God to mankind.

Knowing the Bible inside and out will not give you life. In itself the Scriptures will leave you empty. They point to Jesus and the need for Him. Without Jesus all of the Scriptures become pointless.

Where are you seeking life? In things of this world? In Scriptures and church? In ministry? Or in Jesus?

I pray today that you will see Jesus as the author of life; that you will seek Jesus in every area of your life; that you will seek Jesus in the Scriptures; that God will reveal the life He has for you; and that you will come to Jesus for life.