Faith is hanging on to God and His Word when ALL else fails…
and staying there in spite of all contradictory sight and sense evidence!
1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for.
|Examples of faith given us in the Bible:
The Faith of the Centurion
5When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6“Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.”
7Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.”
8The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
2Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”
31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?“
28Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
21Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.”
5When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
The Faith of a Syrophoenician Woman
24Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.[a] He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil[b] spirit came and fell at his feet. 26The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.
27“First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”
28“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
29Then he told her, “For such a reply (such faith), you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”
30She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone
52“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Mark 11:12-14; 21-23
Jesus Clears the Temple
12The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.
21Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
22“Have[a] faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.”
Jesus Heals a Paralytic
17One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. 18Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
20When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
21The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
22Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
Below there is an excellent devotional message from Worthy Ministries, on the subject of FAITH.
Personally, I have come to see faith as like a muscle, and as with any muscle if you exercise it, it grows; and if you don’t, it atrophies.
From God’s point of view, I do not believe it is ever a matter of how much faith we have, as a determining factor for why we receive answers to our prayers; for the Bible says that God has given to everyone (believers and nonbelievers alike) a measure of faith, or else (I believe anyway) we wouldn’t be able to discern the truth and be saved.
So we can know from this that every individual has a measure of faith; and then Jesus even goes on to say: “That if our faith were even as small as a mustard seed (which is about the smallest seed there is) that we can cast mountains into the sea.” So as I understand what the Scriptures are saying, it is never a matter about how much faith we have. So what is the determining factor?
Now this is my point. I believe all of us have had unanswered prayers; or we have had loved ones and friends who have died early, leaving behind families, who were even Christians, who were praying, and we were praying with them, for their healing… and nevertheless they died. Why is that?
The answer is, I don’t know; and neither does anyone else know for sure, this side of heaven anyway.
These things happen to all of us; but when they do happen, these should be times for us to dig in deeper, into the Word, and find out where we possibly may have missed it… and for that to happen, we have to set our pride aside and remain teachable. The point is… faith NEVER gives up, or loses hope!
Also I have found that on this subject of faith, it can often be a stumbling block and a subject of controversy for some; and for someone to even suggest that one’s faith is less than what it should be, and that possibly is the reason for delay or for unanswered prayer, is for some people, perceived as an insult.
Again it should not be perceived that way; and that attitude alone (which I believe is nothing but dumb pride) shows a hardened and unteachable spirit.
That is the reason why I listed all of these Scriptures above, where the Master (Jesus Himself) often attributed the miracles and answers to prays, according to the individual’s faith, in how their faith was the determining factor for them receiving their miracle!
For example, take the man who was a paralytic, whose friends seeing the pressing crowd, climbed up on the roof and disassembled it in order to lower their friend down in Jesus presence; and when Jesus referred to their faith that was what He was talking about.
Faith often is expressed, not just through our words, but also our actions; and often, as in this example, we are talking about extraordinary actions and measures that are taken, in the face of much resistance, and at great inconvenience.
Another example would be the woman with the issue of blood, who was out in a public place, against the Levitical Law (I might add), and in the presence of a temple official, no less; and yet in spite of all that she first said “If I can but touch the hem of His garment, I shall be healed;” and then she put action to her words, at great inconvenience and risk to herself, and she did an extraordinary thing… but in the end she was healed!
Now most of these people, that we read about in the Bible, who received their miracle, if we read the account and the circumstances that were surrounding them, we often find that they were not at all passive, and they were not saying “Well, if God wants to heal me He can.”
In fact I am sure there were many who had just such an attitude, as we can see all around us even in this day; but it was ONLY those who were proactive, and in spite of great opposition and resistance, they refused to let go, or give up hope (as the woman in the above picture)… and in the end, they received their miracle.
Also, consider the story of Daniel the Prophet for a moment; where we learn in the account given us in the Bible, that he had prayed and fasted for 21 days, before his answer came.
However, when the answer came, the angel told him that the answer was given on the first day he prayed, but that there was resistance in the heavens to his receiving his answer, due to the Prince of Darkness (the Devil); and that Michael the Archangel was dispatched to open the way… and it took 21 days for Daniel to receive an answer to his prayer.
QUESTION: Could that also be what is holding our answered prayers up; and if Daniel had stopped praying and fasting, and had given up after only a couple of days or week, would the answer still have come? I think not.
As I understand our Bible, in what it says on this subject of faith; it is that faith has to be exercised in order to grow, and the way it is exercised is through the obstacle course of our present trials and tribulations, that we are facing today, and always throughout the course of our life… all of which I believe has been choreographed and allowed by God, before we were born.
Again, as we learn from the Book of Job (the oldest book in the Bible) that Satan is as a dog on a leash, and he does not have cart blanch to do to us as he pleases… he has to first get God’s permission.
Or he has to have our permission, one or the other, which can happened if we are harboring strongholds of fear, or doubt, or unforgiveness.
Strongholds are incorrect beliefs that we allow, that are not true and are not Scriptural; and often they are rooted in fear, or in our harboring unforgiveness, or any number of things, that put us at odds with God.
Even as Job said, “What I feared most has happened to me.” All of these kinds of things, these strongholds, can give the enemy a foothold and access into our life… so beware!
Again from God’s perspective, as we learn from Scripture, each obstacle I believe is as a mountain placed in our path, that we have to learn how to overcome by faith; and though these obstacles have been placed there by the Devil (again, as we learn happened in the account given us in the Book of Job), nevertheless it was God who allowed it; so that Job’s faith may grow… and that’s my point!
So regardless of how we feel on this subject of FAITH, the Bible makes it very clear that “Without faith it is impossible for us to please God,” and so regardless of how we may feel, it is of utmost importance to God, and also for us, that we not be displeasing to our Lord. Selah
From: Worthy Ministries
Sent: Wednesday, July 07, 2010 2:15 AM
Subject: Worthy Brief – 7/7/2010
|Does it seem that the tests are getting harder?
Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
I don’t know about you, but it seems that the tests we’re going through are getting harder and harder. Do you remember when you took tests in high school? At the time they may have seemed hard. But imagine if you had to take an elementary school test when you were in high school. You’d probably think – oh this is so simple.
So if it seems that the testing of your faith is more intense – it simply means that you’re graduating to new levels of faith! Our faith is being tested, and as we pass each “faith” test, we’re finding different means of being tested. I suppose in a few years, we’ll look back and think to ourselves – wow that was a hard test, but now it doesn’t look so difficult!
If you’re going through a tough time right now, be encouraged because it simply means that God is graduating you to new levels of faith!
The harder the tests, the greater difficulty – the greater the reward, an increased blessing awaits you!
Stay focused, stay alert and remember that God is trying to stretch your faith so that you can accomplish even more for His Kingdom!
Your family in the Lord with much agape love,
George, Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah