Archive for December, 2005

The Importance of Faith

Friday, December 30th, 2005

What is Faith?
1.DEFINITION: Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
2.Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief. See Synonyms at trust.
3.Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one’s supporters.
4.often Faith Christianity. The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God’s will.
5.The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
6.A set of principles or beliefs.
Why is faith so important? Some leaders of the Christian life say that faith is the foundation of our beliefs and life.

Faith has the power to heal us when we ask Jesus and trust Him.
Matthew 9:2Some people brought to him a paralyzed man on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “Take heart, son! Your sins are forgiven.”

Faith doesn’t only heal but it can raise the dead as well.
Matthew 9:18[ Jesus Heals in Response to Faith ] As Jesus was saying this, the leader of a synagogue came and knelt down before him. “My daughter has just died,” he said, “but you can bring her back to life again if you just come and lay your hand upon her.”

To have faith we need to keep our eyes focused on Jesus at all times in all situations
Matthew 14:31Instantly Jesus reached out his hand and grabbed him. “You don’t have much faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”

Jesus told his disciples that if they had faith even the size of the smallest seed which is the mustard seed, that they would see miracles performed and that they could move mountains.
Matthew 17:20″You didn’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I assure you, even if you had faith as small as a mustard seed you could say to this mountain, `Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”

Jesus’ faith was perfect. He performed many miracles and signs for the people of His time. But He said we will do even greater things if we only have faith.
Matthew 21:21Then Jesus told them, “I assure you, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, `May God lift you up and throw you into the sea,’ and it will happen.

Faith is even more important than other physical acts of worship. The physical acts of worship are important, but without faith, they mean nothing.
Matthew 23:23″How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest part of your income, [ Greek to tithe the mint, the dill, and the cumin.] but you ignore the important things of the law–justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but you should not leave undone the more important things.

When you have faith in Jesus, you will find that Jesus will forgive your sins.
· Mark 2:5Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My son, your sins are forgiven.”

It takes faith to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. We need to believe like little children in what Jesus tells us. If we do not, we have no place in Heaven.
Mark 10:15I assure you, anyone who doesn’t have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God.”

Jesus instructed his followers to have faith.
· Mark 11:22Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God.

Jesus is concerned about when He returns as to how many will actually have faith in Him. Will you?
Luke 18:8I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when I, the Son of Man, return, how many will I find who have faith?”

Having faith will see us through the many trials and tribulations we will go through not only as humans but as children of God.
Acts 14:22where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that they must enter into the Kingdom of God through many tribulations.

It is necessary for ALL who live to have faith. For it is through faith in Jesus that we are saved from the fires of Hell and eternal damnation.
Acts 20:21I have had one message for Jews and Gentiles alike–the necessity of turning from sin and turning to God, and of faith in our Lord Jesus.

Having faith not only encourages us in our walk, but when other believers see our faith, they will be encouraged by our faith as well.
Romans 1:12I’m eager to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. In this way, each of us will be a blessing to the other.

We are made right in God’s eyes, only through faith from start to finish.
Romans 1:17This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” [ Hab 2:4.]

It is not by our good works that we receive any glory or grow in God, but it is by faith in God. We have nothing to boast about except God’s love for us.
· Romans 3:27Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on our good deeds. It is based on our faith.

· Romans 4:5But people are declared righteous because of their faith, not because of their work.

Faith in Jesus brings peace into our lives.
Romans 5:1[ Faith Brings Joy ] Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.

It is through faith that we are able to stand confidently before the Lord with our petitions and our thanksgiving.
Romans 5:2Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

It is essential to have faith and we get our faith by reading God’s word and listening to others tell us about God’s word.
Romans 10:17Yet faith comes from listening to this message of good news–the Good News about Christ.

Faith is one of the Gifts of God mentioned in the Bible.
· · 1 Corinthians 12:9The Spirit gives special faith to another, and to someone else he gives the power to heal the sick.

Faith is listed among the three greatest gifts that will always endure.
· 1 Corinthians 13:13There are three things that will endure–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love.

Our faith is useless if we do not believe that Jesus rose from the dead and sits beside the Father in Heaven.
1 Corinthians 15:17And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless, and you are still under condemnation for your sins.

Is your faith the true faith or is it just something you imagine you have. You are told to test your faith to see if it is the true faith needed for the Christian to walk the walk.
2 Corinthians 13:5Examine yourselves to see if your faith is really genuine. Test yourselves. If you cannot tell that Jesus Christ is among you, [ Or in you.] it means you have failed the test.

Faith is for everybody, not just the Jewish people whom God loves.
Galatians 3:14Through the work of Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, and we Christians receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.

When we have faith, we can go boldly into God’s presence knowing full well we will be welcomed there.
Ephesians 3:12Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come fearlessly into God’s presence, assured of his glad welcome.

All Christians need faith to fight off the attacks of the enemy. Faith is our shield, one of the pieces of the armor of God listed that we need to put on daily to ward off the darts of the enemy.
· Ephesians 6:16In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan.

Faith protects us.
1 Thessalonians 5:8But let us who live in the light think clearly, protected by the body armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.

Christian leaders must have faith in their lives that can be clearly seen by others. Anyone in a leadership position must have faith and a clear conscience.
1 Timothy 3:9They must be committed to the revealed truths of the Christian faith and must live with a clear conscience.

It takes a great deal of faith to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
1 Timothy 3:16Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: (Jesus) appeared in the flesh and was shown to be righteous by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and was announced to the nations. He was believed on in the world and was taken up into heaven.
Even young children or the youth of our day can have and demonstrate faith and it should not deter them if someone laughs at them or persecutes them, or adults for that matter, for their faith.
1 Timothy 4:12Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.

WE are to continue to pursue and go after faith and all that is good if we ant to remain pure in our hearts to the Lord..
· 2 Timothy 2:22Run from anything that stimulates youthful lust. Follow anything that makes you want to do right. Pursue faith and love and peace, and enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.

Sometimes it is necessary to be disciplined in order to return to our faith if we are found to be doing something we ought not to be doing..
Titus 1:13This is true. So rebuke them as sternly as necessary to make them strong in the faith.

If we are to be righteous, as God calls us to be, we are to live by faith.
Hebrews 10:38And a righteous person will live by faith. But I will have no pleasure in anyone who turns away.” [ Hab 2:3-4.]

Faith assures our salvation.
Hebrews 10:39But we are not like those who turn their backs on God and seal their fate. We have faith that assures our salvation.

It is by faith that we believe everything God has done, shown us or asks us to believe in.
Hebrews 11:3By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.

When our faith is tested, it gives us a chance to grow in the Lord.
James 1:3For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.

You do not have faith in Jesus if you love some and hold prejudices against others. God is no respecter of persons, so we should not be either.
James 2:1My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim that you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people more than others?
Faith without good deeds means nothing. Anyone can have faith, but is your faith an action or a feeling?

James 2:14-17
14Dear brothers and sisters, what’s the use of saying you have faith if you don’t prove it by your actions? That kind of faith can’t save anyone. 15Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing, 16and you say, “Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well”–but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
17So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good deeds is no faith at all–it is dead and useless.
James 2:20Fool! When will you ever learn that faith that does not result in good deeds is useless?

God admires those whose faith has been tested and remains true.
1 Peter 1:7These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

So why is faith so important? It is the foundation of our Christian walk. Without faith we cannot be healed, we cannot persevere through trying times, we cannot share the goodness of God, we cannot walk in God’s way, we cannot be saved, we cannot have our prayers answered, we cannot be protected, we cannot follow Jesus, and quite simply, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
Hebrews 11 is considered the Hall of Faith because it lists many who lived by faith and saw God’s promises come true. We as Christians in today’s world are no less responsible to have this kind of faith. In fact, we need it moreso now than ever because of all the new religions that are coming out against Christianity. Everywhere we turn, the Christian way of life is being attacked and that is what the Bible said would happen in the end times. We need faith to stand up for what we truly believe in or we will be swayed like a leaf in the wind. Jesus is our Rock and if we stand on Him, we will have the kind of faith that can move mountains. But if we lack faith, we will falter and may even be lead astray from the Lord.

So my question is, where is your faith at these days?

©2005 by Sheri Leigh Adams – All Rights Reserved

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What is Hope and Why Do We Need It?

Thursday, December 8th, 2005

By Sheri Liegh Adams

We often hear people say, “I hope that …..” Sometimes it is a sincere hope, like the hope that the money to pay for the mortgage comes in on time so your cheque does not bounce. Sometimes it is the hope of somebody you love getting better and not passing on. Other times it is futile things that don’t really matter like, hoping that your next door neighbour invites you to his party or that the bridge isn’t too crowded so you have to wait a simple 5 minutes. There is a true hope and there is a futile hope that really isn’t a hope at all, just a desire for instant or even delayed gratification.

The Bible is loaded with examples of the word hope. There are many different meanings for the word hope. As a noun, hope can mean the following: achievement, ambition, anticipation, aspiration, assumption, belief, desire, expectancy, expectation and faith.
And as a verb, hope can mean: anticipate, aspire, assume, await, believe, cherish, contemplate, count on, expect,, have faith, hold, long for, pray , have faith, hold, and long for.

1. It is imperative for the Christian to have hope for more than one reason. We are told that Jesus is the Blessed Hope that we had all been waiting for. Those who know this are truly blessed, and those who know this without have ever seen Jesus as a human are truly blessed. Jesus said blessed are those who hope in me and yet have never seen me
John 20:29
o King James Version (KJV)
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

So for those of us who believe in Jesus now, we are even more blessed than the disciples in that we believe in a person we have never seen face to face. In order to believe like this, requires hope. Hope that what the Bible says is true. And if we are TRUE Christians, we KNOW that every word of the Bible is God-breathed and therefore true because God cannot lie.

So to believe in Jesus Christ alone requires hope. The hope that what we believe is true and real. And Christians know within their hearts what is true and what is not because the Holy Spirit lives within our hearts and teaches us to discern what is right and wrong, what is true and what is false. We tell people that we know, because we know because we know…What other explanation can we give them. We know that we are saved because we know that we are saved. It is based on the hope of the Lord and anybody who is not a Christian will not understand this concept until or unless they too become a child of God.

2. Another reason we need to have hope is because of all the promises in the Bible, and we know there are many promises.
Hebrews 6:18 – The Message (MSG)
God can’t break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable. We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go.

The events we really need to have hope for, in my personal opinion include, but are not limited to: the rapture, healing from illnesses and the salvation of our friends and our families. How can we really know that Jesus will return one day to take us home to be with Him? We have to hope! We have to believe in that hope, in that promise that the angel said when Jesus was resurrected to Heaven that this same Jesus that goes to Heaven will likewise return to gather those who belong to Him. How do we know He is going to return? Do we have any physical proof? No. But we have His word. And what is better than the word of the Lord?

1 Thessalonians 4:17 says that we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord. How do we know this is what is going to happen? We have hope. Has Jesus ever gone back on a promise He has made? Not in my lifetime or in that of my parents or grandparents from what they tell me. So Christians need to have hope for the promises of the things that are to come.

3. Another reason we can have hope and believe in Jesus as our hope is because of Jesus Himself. He had to have hope that His sacrifice would surely result in a way to salvation and a path back to God for our sinful race.. Yes, even the Son of God had to have hope in His Father that all His terrible suffering would end up with a positive outcome. Now, if Jesus, who is God, who is Hope needed to have hope, how much more do we, who live on Earth in such a time as we do with all the terrors of the world, need to have hope in the Lord?

Now more than ever, Christians need to have hope. Our faith is being persecuted not only in the Third World Countries but in our own backyard. The Lord’s Prayer, The Ten Commandments taken out of schools, courts, and governments. And yet these very things were founded on the Word of God. Christians are a minority now in these days, therefore we need to have hope that God will not abandon us the way our countries have. We need to keep our leaders in prayer and instead of complaining about what they are doing wrong, write them letters with our concerns and what the Bible says about godly and ungodly nations. I do so about every 3 months. I usually get about 2 replies back, but at least that is two government officials who are taking the time to read my concerns. In this, I have hope that if nothing else, these government officials are reading the word of God, if only what I put in my letter. We can hope in God that even though it seems we are losing, in the end, we have already won.

Christians need to have hope even when it seems things are hopeless. I’m sure every Christian you talk to can tell you of a time or two that they really didn’t have any hope or it felt that they had no hope and they felt that God had abandoned them. But they got through it, if they are talking to you about it. Why and how? Hope.
Romans 4:18
The Message (MSG)
When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!” Abraham believed even when there seemed to be nothing to believe in because he had hope in God’s promise and in God Himself. So too, we need to have this same hope when times seem hopeless. God will not leave us. He is always with us. And when it seems you just can’t believe, that is when God carries you because you do not have the strength to go any further on your own. You got through because of your hope in God.

4. Another reason we as God’s children need to have hope is so we can offer this same hope to those who have none and to those who do not yet know the Lord. If we do not have hope as Christians, what do we have to offer those who have nothing to hold on to?
Titus 1:2 – The Message (MSG)
My aim is to raise hopes by pointing the way to life without end. This is the life God promised long ago–and he doesn’t break promises!

It is our job to point the way to Hope, which is Jesus so that those who have no hope can have hope and believe in/on Jesus who is the Hope Of All that we had long waited for. And in order to offer hope to those who have none, we first must have hope and believe in that hope, because Jesus is our hope. If we do not believe in Hope or have any hope in us, then how can we offer it to those who are in need of it?

The Psalms are full of examples of cries for help with the use of hoping in God:

1. Psalm 25:3
o New International Version (NIV)
No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse.
2. Psalm 27:14
o Amplified Bible (AMP)
Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.
3. Psalm 38:15 Amplified Bible (AMP)
For in You, O Lord, do I hope; You will answer, O Lord my God
4. Psalm 40:11
o New Living Translation (NLT)
LORD, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me. My only hope is in your unfailing love and faithfulness.
5. Psalm 71:14
o New International Version (NIV)
But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.

These are only a very few examples of where hope is found in the Bible. Stop and think of the people mentioned in the Bible who had to have hope in order to achieve their goals that God laid on their hearts: David with Goliath, Sampson when he brought down the pillars and a coliseum as a final show that He had hope in God and despite his many faults, still believed in God’s hope. Moses had to have hope in God to perform all the miracles he did. Remember that it wasn’t Moses who actually performed the miracles, but he did as the Lord told him, basing his reputation on God’s word to him, and God answered every time and eventually Pharaoh released the Israelite slaves.

Remember Peter stepping out of the boat onto the water to meet Jesus. As long as he focused on Jesus and hoped in Him, he walked on water, but the minute Peter looked away, he lost his hope and sank into the water, only for the Lord to rescue him. The many prophets in the Old Testament had to have hope that the word they received was from God and when they had to PROVE that God was God, by performing miracles like fire burning up the water on the sacrifice and in the drenches around the sacrifices. They too staked their reputation on the hope that God would not fail them or abandon them. And God never did. He always showed Himself to be true to His word.

These are only a few examples of the Bible of people who had hope in God, who NEEDED to have hope in God in order to come through the fire. In my own life, I have needed to have hope in God. I was very ill with Epilepsy growing up. By the time I was an older teenager, I was having an average of 5-20 seizures a day despite the 4000mg of medication my neurologist had me on. I was pulled out of school. I slept more than I was awake. Sometimes I couldn’t even lift a spoon to my mouth to eat; my parents had to feed me like a baby. I was prayed for over and over and yet was not healed. Many people believed it was because of a lack of faith on my part. What they didn’t know was that as a young teenager when I was first saved, God revealed to me that my healing would not come by so-called miraculous means. He was right. My healing came through surgery, so through the medical field. Without going into detail, the doctors were baffled at how calm I was for the surgery as I had to be awake for it.

My surgery has been a witnessing tool for me since it took place in 1990. Where I used to have 5-20 seizures a day, I now have none and am on no anti-seizure drugs. Now that is hope fulfilled!!!! I believed God. I trusted in His word that I would be healed but not the way many people wanted it to happen. And I am glad it happened the way it did, because the people I have witnessed to since 1990 about it is absolutely incredible and beyond numbers. Even my family members use it when they are witnessing to the unsaved. So, not only can I use it in a personal way, but my family too can use it to show how God works if you just have hope.

I place my hope in the God of my fathers, the God of Abraham and the God who died for my sins and rose again, who will return one day in glory to take me home to be with Him. There is no greater hope. Where does your hope lie?

Christians in Recovery

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