BIBLICAL FAITH: “DE-MYSTIFIED” & “DE-COMPLICATED”

In the KJV and NKJV translations of Hebrews11:1 the verse is written “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for….”

The word substance can be very easily misunderstood and misapplied. When you look in a Webster’s dictionary you see they list the various meanings of any word from the most commonly used to lesser used meanings.  So when we look in the dictionary for the definition of the word substance we see that the first and most common usage of the word is “material of certain kind”.

If we stop with that definition we imagine that faith is actually an invisible material of some kind. We can become frustrated and doubtful because we can’t understand an invisible material.

I do not believe this is the correct definition of the word substance in this particular scripture.I have come to understand that the word substance means: confidence, assurance, based on truth (fact) that is solid, firm, unchanging and not of human imagination. (See Strong’s Greek Concordance # 5287 )

In the natural realm we develop confidence (or trust) in a person over time when they demonstrate that they do what they say – they keep their word.

Basically it is the same with having faith in God. First we must “hear” something that He is saying. We must encounter His Word. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” Romans 10:17. And then we either act upon the word and see that it is in fact true, or we do not act and remain in our unbelief.

Incidentally, we never know when someone will actually “hear” what God is speaking even though He is speaking truth continually. God is continually speaking through the scriptures. He is speaking through messengers. He is speaking through creation (Romans 1:20). He is speaking by His Spirit.

The woman with the issue of blood had tried all manner of approaches to become well, but had become worse. When she “heard” that Jesus was healing ALL who came to Him (v. 27) she was willing to do whatever was necessary to get to Him. (Remember she was an outcast, forbidden to be around others, but she wanted to be complete whole so she pushed passed all the barriers.)

She was confident that touching Jesus would make her whole. That is what faith really is. It is confidence that what we have heard, He will do.

We can make up all kinds of imaginations about life, our future etc. There truly is a power in the realm of our imagination, but that does not necessarily translate over to real, substantial confidence in God. It may actually just be confidence in ourself, or in someone else. This kind of faith does NOT please God and it will bring great disappointment to us in the next life.

True faith in God is not complicated either. We do not have to jump through hoops or add anything to our faith. Jesus said for us to become like a little child.

In the early years of life, a child just believes what they are told by the parent. (Of course if the parent is very inconsistent in what is said and done, the child will become very insecure and unstable.) But, God does not operate that way. He is not “wishy washy”. And He cannot lie. In fact it is impossible for God to lie (Hebrew 6:18)

Of course, when He speaks a specific direction or instruction to us, or instructions from His Word that specifically tell us what to do (like forgiving, and praising, and giving, and fleeing temptation etc.) then we MUST ACT accordingly. But even in the compliance to His instruction we must do so only by relying upon His grace and power within us.

Please, examine how you live your life of faith. Are you adding things to your walk that you think will enhance, improve or make you more effective? Determine to let go go all effort and simply believe.

Study the following verses and let the Holy Spirit speak clearly to you regarding effort.

John 6:63
John 15:5
Philippians 3:3
Galatians 3:3
Jeremiah 17:5

So, in conclusion, when the disciples requested Jesus to “increase our faith”, they were asking Him do what only they could do. They, and we, must place ALL our confidence in the One who keeps His Word, keeps His promises, and cannot lie.

 

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Cursed?

Are you or is someone you know under a curse?

Do bad things keep happening to you?

Are you repeating the same destructive habits or patterns over and over?

Did these patterns exist in the lives of other family members?

You may be a really good Christian and yet thinking that you are under a curse.  Many people do think that.

Many Christians, as well as unbelievers, seem to really think that the devil has more power to harm, than God has to free and heal.

Many people seem to think that they are stuck and doomed to live with the generational curses.

Others spend countless hours reading and studying and searching for the hidden root of the curse, to no avail.  (Jesus said, You search here and there but won’t come to me in faith John 5:40.  You want to be “ok” because of your works, or your “goodness”,  or with your efforts to fix things.)

Freedom will never come this way.

But, I have a some good news to share.  And if you are open to it, it will change your life.

First of all let me say that YES there are “curses” that are passed down from generation to generation.  Let’s read Exodus 20:5.   “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me.”

That is real, but now that only stays activated when we refuse to make a quality decision to change the way we think, in other words, refuse to repent for not believing God’s Word of FREEDOM and VICTORY from our past and present circumstances.

When we believe circumstances and the “devil-lies” more than truth, then we have no confidence to believe God (I John 3:21 If our heart does not condemn us we have confidence before God.) When we are believing lies,  our heart is automatically condemning us, though it may be at an unconscious level.

Let me lay a foundation here.

  1. Jesus came to destroy the works of the evil one, and He DID IT.  The works of the evil one HAVE BEEN TOTALLY DESTROYED (1 John 3:8).  The only power the devil has to enforce the “curse”, the family patterns, is the power we give to him by believing the lies instead of believing the Word of God.  [It is critical that we CHANGE OUR MIND about what we believe.]

2.   Believing TRUTH is the only thing that sets us free (John 8:32).   Therefore it stands to reason that we should make it a top priority to know THE TRUTH about every issue of life.

I remember when I first started walking with the Lord.  My life had been a huge mess. I had major emotional issues.  But, I also believed God’s Word contained the answers I needed.  I didn’t have a promise book, didn’t even know about promise books, but I had a bible concordance.  So I got a notebook and made a list of the different emotional problems I had and then took the concordance and began to search out what God said.  Fear and panic were particular issues of mine.  I had never heard of panic attacks back in 1980, but I surely had them.  Here is the truth though – the word of God brought total freedom and healing to me…to my emotions and my body.

There are many verses on fear.  I wrote them down and I carried one or two with me because I wanted to live in peace.  Over time, the light of the scriptures drove out the darkness of fear and the panic attacks stopped. I was no longer under the “curse” of fear.  Studying about fear didn’t bring freedom!  Taking  truth into my thinking, my heart and my practice, brought freedom.

3.   See, the devil is a liar and the father of lies, all he has is lies.  As long  as we continue to live in agreement with what he whispers, the longer we stay under the  “curse.”

4.   Jesus took away the devil’s power to control us and keep us in bondage.  Jesus actually became the curse in order to dismantle it so that the blessings can flow into our life  (Galatians 3:13-14). Jesus hung on a tree when He was crucified.  Verse 13 says that everyone who hangs on a tree is cursed.  Jesus went through this so that the blessings of Abraham could come to us, too.  Believe me Abraham was highly blessed.

Let me show you some more powerful truth:

In Jeremiah 17:5-8  we are shown some very critical information about curses and blessings.

Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord. 6 For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, And shall not see when good comes, But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, In a salt land which is not inhabited. 7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. 8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.”

When anyone puts their trust in themselves or in another human being they automatically come under a curse. Plain and simple.  You don’t have to believe me, but your life will prove it to be true.

Jesus said in John 3:17 that he didn’t come to condemn the world (or curse the world) but to bring salvation, which equals freedom, health, victory, peace, prosperity etc.

In verse 18 Jesus clearly says that those who do not believe are already condemned, or cursed.

When anyone of us trust in our own goodness, or our ability, or intelligence or whatever, and do not acknowledge God or learn His ways they fall “under condemnation or the curse”.

We have to move beyond our “victim mentality”.  WE can change the course of our life and find lasting freedom from all manner of “curses” provided we are willing to make the quality choice and commit to walk it out day by day.

If we make a mis-step, be quick to take responsibility before God, be cleansed by His blood (1 John 1:9) and get back on track.

These curses and patterns do not have to have dominion over you. You have dominion over them.

We have an incredible power within us to choose. Deuteronomy 30:19 says God has set before us life and death and we should choose life that we can live!

Be Free.  Then help others make the right choice.

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Back to the Basics

Sometimes we have to go back to basics, or  “back to the very beginning” (as Julie Andrews sang in The Sound of Music), and do a quick review of how we are actually “getting along” in living this life of faith, and in the effectiveness of our prayer life.

For several weeks I have personally been in that “mode”, as I have spent much time meditating and reflecting upon the “prayer-conversation” of Jesus and the Father as recorded in John 17, and other passages.

I would like to share some insights that have formed over the last few days. I am only sharing what I have personally had revealed to me and what I am purposing to walk out as I am surrendered to and empowered by the Spirit of God.

Crazy as it may seem to many, I am motivated by extreme desire to be effective in prayer and victorious in my mind and emotions.  I strongly desire to not be a believer whose joy and victory is dependent upon circumstances.  I strongly desire that my circumstances always bow to the TRUTH of God’s Word and that no matter what I will genuinely rejoice in God and in truth – regardless.

(It is my understanding that the early Christian martyrs, who were tortured or burned at the stake did so not with complaint or accusations against God but with praise on their lips.  To me, that is the “gold standard”.)

Here are a few simple keys I want to pass on today.

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#1  We must always look with spirit eyes into the unseen realm, in order to maintain the kind of victory that is based upon truth, not upon circumstances.  We must always keep our eyes upon God who CANNOT lie and who KNOWS HOW to work out the details of our journey in this life.

Of course this can be a major challenge to our mind…especially when we are certain we have ‘heard from God’…. as to what His will for us is.

#2  We must expend effort and invest time into increasing our deep trust in His word.  His Word must be the SOLID ROCK inside us, when the storms hit.  Our trust must never be in people.

It may sound easy enough to embrace this, but be assured it isn’t  because we are all basically “people pleasers” or “people reactors” at our core.

(We must know and personally believe that Jesus was not moved by external “evidence”, but by eternal evidence.  He was not moved by opinions of man. He needed no human attention, acceptance, approval, or applause. See John 5:41, 44 and John 2:25)

#3 The biggest battle we all must win is the battle in our mind.  So we must face it head on,  in order to win.

I will now share something very simple that can help anyone make progress in this arena.

Begin immediately to make the changes you want.

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Start here.   The scriptures declares that:

1. “NO weapon formed against you shall prosper….” Isaiah 54:17 (It would be good to read the entire verse)

2.  “You are more than a conqueror…(through Christ)  ” Romans 8:37

3.   “You have the mind of Christ…” 1 Corinthians 2:16

What was revealed to me was that most of our mind battles consist of facing one or all three of the following:

Fear   –  of the FUTURE:    of the unknown, failure, or exposure of our real self

Regret —  from the PAST:  of mistakes, or wrong choices

Emptiness – in the PRESENT:  no sense of a reason to exist, purpose, love, or joy

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The battle(s) can be won by first honestly “owning up” to what is bothering you.  Then realize that it is possible to exchange truth for the lies that are going round and round inside your mind.

In fact the cross of Jesus is all about the place where the “great exchange” took place -He gave His life, His emotions, His mind for mine, if I will but take what is offered.(Positive thinking and positive confessions can never match the power of the life giving word of God)

Take one scripture, all or add additional ones to the ones above.  Use  the scripture as your sword against the lies that come against your mind until the “skirmish” is completely over!

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Be aware that there will be new battles, but you will always win the same way….by starting off with “It is written…..”

Do it out loud. (You do not have to feel like it.)   The word is living and active and it works if you will work it.

Darkness in thoughts and distress in emotions will go.  Peace and joy will come.

And please remember, it does not glorify God to live in regret or fear or emptiness.  Jesus came to give us abundant life.

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