Category Archives: Scripture

A Word from the Word: Faith

Hebrews 11:1

Some ways that this verse is translated.
NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. (Amplified Bible)

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the sign that the things not seen are true. (Bible in Basic English)

Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see. (Contemporary English Version)

Now faith is a well-grounded assurance of that for which we hope, and a conviction of the reality of things which we do not see. (Weymouth New Testament)

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (The New Living Translation)

Some wise words concerning this verse.
     Faith is to see as substantial fact what is hoped for on the basis of taking God’s promises seriously. It is to be assured of it, and to be convinced that what God has declared will be, seeing it as proved because He said it, even when it has not yet come about and is invisible. Thus it is to accept it as proved, on the basis of His word. Faith underpins hope in respect to what God has promised. Hope looks at what is to come with confidence, faith is satisfied that it will be so. The one who believes is satisfied that God has some better thing for him which is at present unseeable. (Pett)

True faith takes hold of the Divine word; it is weak or strong, great or small, as it receives, keeps, and uses, the word of God. The source of weak faith is in the ignorance and slowness of the heart with reference to the Divine testimony. The strength of faith is the humility of a helpless and broken heart cleaving to the promise. (Sermon Bible Commentary)

Faith is the sixth sense. It makes us as sure of unseen or future things, which we know about only through the divine Word, as we are of things which we can see and touch. When we are aware of the reality of these things, we naturally take them into account when we act. (F. B. Meyer)

The beginning point of faith is believing in God’s character: He is who he says. The end point is believing in God’s promises: He will do what he says. When we believe that God will fulfill his promises even though we don’t see those promises materializing yet, we demonstrate true faith. (Life Application Study Bible)

If people have faith, it means they believe that things hoped for according to God’s promises will be achieved and that unseen powers of God are real. Those with faith look beyond what they see. They know that they cannot explain the existence of the world solely by reasoning from the things that can be seen (11:1-3). (Bridgeway Bible Commentary)

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” This is not a definition, but shows us something of what faith does. It is that which, to the individual, gives solid substance to things hoped for. It is no mere fanciful imagination, but an honest trust in the living God, by which the things of God are made a definite, clear reality to the heart, and are thus recognized to be more truly substantial than all material substance-for the latter will pass away. Also it has that peculiar power of evidencing to us “things not seen.” Faith in the living God is not blind, but the actual opening of the eyes, accepting unquestionable evidence of the reality of unseen, spiritual things. (L. M. Grant)

     This is not a definition of faith but a description of what faith does and how it works. True Bible faith is not blind optimism or a manufactured “hope-so” feeling. Neither is it an intellectual assent to a doctrine. It is certainly not believing in spite of evidence! That would be superstition.
True Bible faith is confident obedience to God’s Word in spite of circumstances and consequences.
Read that last sentence again and let it soak into your mind and heart.
This faith operates quite simply. God speaks and we hear His Word. We trust His Word and act on it no matter what the circumstances are or what the consequences may be. The circumstances may be impossible, and the consequences frightening and unknown; but we obey God’s Word just the same and believe Him to do what is right and what is best. (Wiersbe)

There is no better definition of this elusive word than verse 1: ‘Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see’. People often excuse themselves as not being able to believe, as if faith were a matter of genes. All human beings live by faith, not least in our technological age. What matters is where we place our trust, and on what grounds. (Hacking)

It is the “confident assurance” (the expression is used of a title deed that guarantees a future possession) that what is anticipated will be realized (11:1). Faith treats unseen things as realities, not mere wishes or hopes. Throughout this chapter the issue of faith hinges on believing in what is not seen or what is future. (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)

Other Scriptures about Faith
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. ” (Matt. 17:20)

Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. (1 Pet. 1:21)

But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor. 13:13)

We live by faith, not by sight. (2 Cor. 5:7)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God… (Eph. 2:8)

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb. 12:2)

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (Rom. 10:17)

Some quotes about faith.
Faith, as Paul saw it, was a living, flaming thing leading to surrender and obedience to the commandments of Christ. (A. W. Tozer)

Faith expects from God what is beyond all expectation. (Andrew Murray)

Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe. (Augustine)

Faith is a living and unshakable confidence. a belief in God so assured that a man would die a thousand deaths for its sake. (Martin Luther)

Faith isn’t the ability to believe long and far into the misty future. It’s simply taking God at His Word and taking the next step. (Joni Erickson Tada)

The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety. (George Mueller)

Where reason cannot wade there faith may swim. (Thomas Watson)

To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible. (St. Thomas Aquinas)

Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.(Oswald Chambers)

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. (Corrie Ten Boom)

More quotes here. (I do not necessarily agree with all the teachings those quoted on this link.)

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ARE YOU A WALKING BIBLE?

Spiritual Affirmation
Reading and obeying God’s Word will cause you to walk a straight path.

Walking Bibles
“Give me understanding, and I will keep Your law

 and obey it with all my heart.” Psalm 119:34

Determine to PRACTICE whatever you read. Christians should be walking Bibles, living the truths written. The Word is not only a guide to knowledge, but a guide to obedience. A holy reading of God’s Word, results in our fleeing from sins, and practicing the duties commanded.

“I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I
 might obey Your word.” Psalm 119:101

Read more by Puritan pastor Thomas Watson.

NEW BIBLE STUDY: 1 JOHN

How to Know You Have Eternal Life (11 lessons) 
Join me as we dig deep into the book of 1 John.

How do you know if you’re really born again? What does it mean to be holy. . . to love God? Find answers to these and other questions as you take a look back at the fundamentals of Christian beliefs.

Beginning Wednesday, January 18 at 6:30.
Aloma Church

For more details or to register please contact Janice at abiding@cfl.rr.com.

READING THE BIBLE IN 2012: SHOULD I?

Should I read the Bible in 2012?
Yes, I should, and will, read the Bible in 2012. That is a real simple question to answer and a simple task to accomplish because I am a Bible study leader and spend several hours a week in God’s word.

But the task I haven’t been able to manage in my Christian walk is reading the ENTIRE Bible in a year. I am a great starter and a terrible finisher. I bet some of you know what I mean. How many times have you read about the Creation, the flood, the stories about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph? Maybe you made it to Exodus and suffered with the Israelites in their salvery and rejoiced in their escape from Egypt with Moses. BUT! Then you hit Leviticus! How often I have said this and heard it, “I was fine until I got to Leviticus then I lost it. I guess I’ll never read through the entire Bible.”

I am hesitant to begin again. I am afraid I will once again be marking February as “Read Through the Bible Failure Month”. I look back at all my attempts, all my quittings, all my slacking off, lack of discipline and become overwhelmed. My heart droops low and says, I don’t want to be a disappointment to God again, I don’t want to make a new commitment that I know I probably won’t keep.

All this runs through my head as I prepare my bookmarks for a reading plan I have commited myself to. Yes! I did. I remembered that God loves me whether I read through the entire Bible in one year or not. I am convinced He is a God of new beginnings (no matter how many I need). I started to dwell on the fact that His mercies are new every morning. I began to pray that the Holy Spirit would sustain me throughout the year to complete a journey through His inspired Word. My hope and desire have surged.

What about you? Maybe you read through the Bible yearly. Pray for those of us who struggle. Maybe you are starting a new read-through plan this year. Rely on the Spirit of God, not yourself. Maybe you don’t even think that you need to do this. Consider that all of the Bible is God’s words to you. Ponder the idea that He has things to say to you that you can’t even imagine. Things that will prosper and bless you.

I am starting with a fresh attitude and a complete understanding of my own weakness. Here is what I heard from James MacDonald the other day. Maybe you don’t feel like reading the Bible today. Don’t wait – do it first and feel it later! Amazing! I needed to hear that, do you? Don’t wait til you feel it, just do it!

Below are some plans for reading through the Bible and some articles about why and how. Choose a plan that will work best for you. Set your heart toward this task and let God open the doors of desire, willingness and victory.

Here is the plan I am using. I am going the boot-camp route because I want the challenge. It is called the 3650 Challenge.

Gospel Coalition: Bible Reading Plans for 2012

More Bible Reading Plans at WordWise Women

S.O.A.P Plan for reading the Bible and journaling

Do you need to plan? See what John Piper says.

Here is an article by Noel Piper that is full of grace and encouragement to get through the entire Bible. Start anytime, read anywhere. Love this. I am sticking with my decision to use the 3560 plan but I will use Noel’s method next year.

My prayer for you is that you will be in God’s Word. Maybe you can finish in a year, maybe you stretch it to two or more. Just read it! Don’t let another day, week, or year go by without hearing all the Lord has to say to you. I’m really excited, how about you?

Do you want to be a squash or an oak?

The Mighty Oak Tree As I was reading this morning I came across something I want to share with you. If you are like me you sometimes feel stuck in one place spiritually. You long for growth, for the journey toward being more like Jesus to speed up. I often pray, “Lord, put me on the fast track.”

Miles J. Stanford, in his book The Green Letters shared an illustration that was given by Dr. A. H. Strong.  A student asked Strong, the president of his school, “whether he could not take a shorter course than the one prescribed. ‘Oh yes,’ replied the President, ‘but then it depends upon what you want to be. When God wants to make an oak, He takes a hundred years, but when He wants to make a squash, He takes six months.”’

Do you want to be strong, with deep roots that can withstand the winds and storms or do you want to be a squash, with a short shelf-life that turns to mush quickly under the heat? I choose to be an oak! So I am going to patiently wait on the Lord for growth. I am going to put myself in the places of growth. The places that water and fertilize my roots. I want to be the tallest, strongest oak tree in the forest. How about you?

Psalm 1 says that the blessed man’s delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.”

Opportunities, Not Resolutions

Christmas 2010 is behind us and we can see 2011 just ahead.

 This week between Christmas and New Years I begin to look
forward to all the “new” beginnings of the New Year. Why is it
that we see a new year as a chance to make a new start? I
sometimes will put off something I don’treally want to do
until I can begin fresh. Maybe I will start again tomorrow,
or on Monday, or next month or like now,
a whole new, big, shiny year. You, too?

 Though I have learned to become very skeptical of my New Year’s Resolutions
I keep making them. How about you?

 Here is a list of some perennial New Year’s Resolutions. (In no particular order)
1. Lose Weight and Get in Better Physical Shape
2. Stick to a Budget
3. Debt Reduction
4. Enjoy More Quality Time with Family & Friends
5. Find My Soul Mate
6. Quit Smoking
7. Find a Better Job
8. Learn Something New
9. Volunteer and Help Others
10. Get Organized

 Some of these I could definitely work toward in 2011 but I hope to
see some eternal growth and benefit this coming year.

 This year instead of making resolutions I am taking opportunities.
Here is my list. I am submitting it to the Lord and trusting Him to
do it in me by the power of His Holy Spirit.

I will take every opportunity to:
Grow in love and show it.
Serve others even if it requires sacrifice.
Guard my thoughts & words. Especially the negative, critical and judgmental!
Talk less and listen more.
Grow in my study of God’s Word.
Continue in my quiet time and develop a deeper prayer life.
Diligently and devotionally grow in intimacy with the Lord.
Become more globally minded.
And the list could go on. . .

 Maybe you want to make your own list. Send it to me if you want,
I would love to pray for you in this.

Let’s pray that when 2012 looms on the horizon next year we will have
seized each opportunity to grow in the Lord.

 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a
good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 1:6)

 The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
(Lam 3:22-23)

Jesus Loved Me to Death

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom
every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He
would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be
strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that
you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to
comprehend
with all the saints what is the breadth and
length and height and depth,
and to know the love of
Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you
may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (Eph 3:14-19)

 Christ loves us with agape love.

 Agape love is a pure affection for another that imparts value and worth
prizing and protecting that one at all costs. It is a choice, a decision,
and a commitment.

 Agape love never gives up, always believes the best, always acts on behalf
of others to meet their needs, gives at all costs – even to the death – and
lasts forever. (see 1 Cor. 13:4-8)

 Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Come with the
faith of a little child and receive the sufficient, infinite, unconditional,
and supernatural love of Christ.

 Are you so busy trying to earn Jesus love that you cannot rest in it?

 I agape you! I pray that this message of love will penetrate a place in your
heart that may be empty or bitter or hard or unforgiving or hurting or hating.
Ask the Spirit to show you where you need to apply this love, to yourself in
believing by faith or to others by acting in agape.