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Category Archives: Faith

Faith is not a blind leap

The world’s idea of faith is summed up in this Non-Sequitur comic strip.

However, faith is based on facts and has a foundation. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Some translations may describe the objective sense, “substance,” or the subjective sense, “confidence” or “assurance.” It helps us to understand that faith is both a conviction and a sense of certainty. One author described it as the title deed on which we build our lives. The verse helps us to understand that faith is the organ that helps us to see the unseen.

The African Impala is a beautiful animal that can jump over a height of ten feet and a span of 30 feet. But it can be kept in a zoo enclosure with only a three-foot wall. The reason is that the impala will not jump where it cannot see where its feet will land. Faith enables us to trust God and to venture into the unknown and the unseen.

C. S. Lewis described the substance of faith when he said, “We trust not because ‘a god’ exists, but because this God exists.” Since we have a record of how God worked in the past, we can trust him for the future.

While faith certainly requires a step of faith, it doesn’t necessity a blind leap. We can step out in faith knowing that God will guide and lead us each step of the way.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2020 in Faith, Hebrews, Non-Sequitur, Scripture

 

Heaven’s entrance requirement

Occasionally, cartoonists speak the truth. The writer and artist of Non-Sequitur comes close to the truth of Scripture with this comic.

In one sense, the author is expressing what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 7:21–23 –  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

On the Day of Judgment, there might be many people who know the language but who never really knew the Savior.

In another sense, the author misses the point completely. Good works and a consistent lifestyle will NOT get anyone into heaven. Only faith in Jesus Christ will enable anyone to enter God’s presence.

John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Resolve the matter of faith and forgiveness today. Don’t wait until you stand before God.

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2019 in Culture, Faith, Non-Sequitur, Scripture

 

Where faith begins

“Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.”

George Muller

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2019 in Faith, Quotes

 

One more reason to like In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out Burger is a cult favorite for those who hail from the southwest. For those who live in various parts of the USA, going to In-N-Out for lunch is often the FIRST stop in a visit to SoCal, NV, or AZ. Carol and I made our pilgrimage and had more meals at In-N-Out than we should have on our recent trip to SoCal. We even visited their corporate store to pick up some souvenirs.

One reason it is beloved is because it only does one thing–burgers and fries–for an affordable price. Many are surprised to see Scripture verses on the bottom of some of their packaging. In an article in the Christian Post, owner Lynsi Snyder, shares her Christian testimony and the origin of the verses on the packaging. Read the article, In-N-Out Burger owner Lynsi Snyder on spiritual warfare, desire to be ‘plugged in’ to God’s plan, to learn more.

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2019 in California, Faith, Food

 
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Step out in faith

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2019 in Faith

 

Faithing the Unknown

For every Annie who believes the sun will come up tomorrow, there are countless others who want to run and hide from the unknown. Whether it is going downstairs to the dark basement, picking up the phone to ask someone out on a date, being the new kid at a new school, going to a job interview, or heading into an unknown future, we need encouragement to face the unknown.

In Hebrews 10:38-39, the author of the book explains that we are to live by faith. In 11:2, he states that a lifestyle of faith is the only way to receive God’s approval. In the rest of chapter 11, he gives numerous examples of ordinary people who chose to believe God’s promises and to live by faith. The life of Noah (11:7) demonstrates that when we are faced with the unknown, we need to act on what we know. His examples gives us four characteristics of faith.

Faith takes God at his word. Noah was a righteous man who lived in an ungodly world (Genesis 6:9, 13, 17). God gave him a heads up about the judgment that was coming. While Noah had not seen rain, a flood, or judgment during his lifetime, he took God at his word and believed that God was able to do what he said he would do.

As you face the challenges of your day, do you focus more on your problems or on God’s promises? Are you consumed with worry over job security, health, your children’s future, caring for aging parents, or whether you’ll have enough to retire on? Or you do meditate on God’s promises about his presence, his care, his provision, his protection, or his faithfulness?

C. S. Lewis stated, “We trust not because ‘a God’ exists, but because this God exists!” Take time to get to know God better. Keep a record of how you’ve seen him answer prayer and meet your needs.

Faith must be followed by action. It is not enough to say we believe. We must act on that belief. Noah believed God’s warning and started building the ark. He “did all that God commanded him” (Genesis 6:22; 7:5). Obedience is the litmus test of faith. It demonstrates whether or not we truly believe. James 1:22 says that we are to do the word and not merely listen to it.

Faith requires persistence. Noah listened to God’s warning and instructions and went to work. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, Noah built the ark for 120 years. The ark was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, 45 feet tall, and would displace 43,000 tons of water. This was not a project you could hide in your backyard and call “a shed.” Not only was the task overwhelming, but he also had to deal with critics, cranks, and complainers who made fun of him.

William Carey is considered the father of modern missions. Over a period of 40 years, he translated all or portions of the Bible into 34 of the languages and dialects of India. When praised for his work, he replied, “I am not a genius, just a plodder.”

Faith always makes a difference. Noah’s faith and actions had three practical results (11:7). His family was spared from judgment. His words and actions condemned those who chose not to believe. He was the first person in Scripture declared, “righteous” (Genesis 7:1).

What impact has your faith had on your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, church …?

Author Penelope J. Stokes wrote, “God calls us to many unknowns—new places, new relationships, new jobs, different homes, different friends, unfamiliar frustrations, uncommon joys. Our vision for the future is myopic at best—at worst, totally dark. We cannot see what lies ahead. But we can see the countenance, the character, the direction, of the One who calls us to walk with him and holds the lantern to light each faltering step.”

When faced with the unknown, act on what you know. Keep your focus on God.

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on September 15, 2019. It is part of a series of expository sermons on the book of Hebrews. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.

 

What does it take to please God?

All of us long for approval. We seek approval from parents, teachers, coaches, employers, and friends. We want to know that we are pretty, that we are doing a good job, that we are excelling at our task. We want to know that we measure up.

And yet, we also know that some people are difficult to please. You bring home a report card with four A’s and one B, and you are scolded for being a dummy. You go three for four in a baseball game and all you hear is that you struck out. You work overtime to bring a project in under budget and before the deadline and don’t receive a “thank you” from your boss.

When it comes to spiritual things, we struggle to believe that God actually likes us, let alone approves us. It begs the question, what does it take to please God?

In Hebrews 10:38-39, the author of the book explains that we are to live by faith. In 11:2, he states that a lifestyle of faith is the only way to receive God’s approval. In the rest of chapter 11, he gives numerous examples of ordinary people who chose to believe God’s promises and to live by faith. The life of Enoch (11:5-6) demonstrates that the key to pleasing God is to walk with him on a daily basis.

Who was Enoch? (Hebrews 11:5-6; Genesis 5:21-24; Jude 14-15). Though he barely makes a cameo appearance in the pages of Scripture, we know several things about Enoch. First, he was a godly man in an ungodly world. Enoch’s cousin, Lamech, killed a man and wrote a song about it (Genesis 4:23-24). In his prophecy in Jude 14-15, Enoch uses the word “ungodly” four times to describe his culture.

Second, the transforming moment in Enoch’s life was when he became a father. The grammar in Genesis 5:21-22 indicates that he walked with God after his son, Methuselah, was born. Also, Methuselah’s name means, “When he dies, it shall be sent.” If you do the math, you discover that Methuselah died in the same year the flood began in Noah’s time.

Third, once he was transformed, Enoch became a preacher of righteousness and judgment. As a result, fourth, Enoch received God’s approval. One day, Enoch was walking with God and never returned. Fifth, Enoch was the man who did not die but simply walked with God into eternity.

The Characteristics of a Life that Pleases God. Through his life, Enoch demonstrates how to please God. It starts with believing in God—believing that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. While there are many critics who argue against the existence of God, there are several natural laws—the law of cause and effect, the law of entropy, the law of design—that lead one to conclude that there must be a God. If you read through Colossians 1:15-20, you discover that Jesus Christ is the creator and sustainer as well as the goal of creation. To please God, you must believe he exists. You also have to believe it is possible to know God. 1 Chronicles 28:9 points out that God rewards those who seek him with the knowledge of himself.

Believing that God exists, we must seek him, walk with him, and tell others about him. These are the very same things that Enoch did. As Enoch learned, faith is the key that unlocks God’s approval.

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on September 8, 2019. It is part of a series of expository sermons on the book of Hebrews. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.