FAITH IN WHAT?

Whenever someone says that they have faith, the question arises, “faith in what or whom?”

If you probe enough in a person’s narrative, you will find the worldview that the person builds their reality from.  Is their foundation for “faith” in happen-chance? a “faith” in self? a “faith” in another person? a “faith” in “big brother?” or a “faith” in “karma?” Wherever the faith is focused toward reveals the person’s source of life and their reality.

In political slogans, we are asked to have faith. In business circles, we are asked to have faith. In relationships, we are asked to have faith. Faith is one of those words that has become a generic, abused child. However, when faith is properly employed, reality becomes more real in a person’s life. When faith is built on a true, solid foundation than kingdom reality becomes a life-giving source that makes oneself and those around him/her to flourish.

If someone is looking for a Biblical definition of faith, check out chapter eleven of Hebrews. If you want a another practical definition, substitute the words belief and trust in the work of the Triune God every time you come across the faith word. It will give you a more precise meaning of the word faith as used in scripture. But for those whose basis is not scripture, faith is only an empty cliché to distort the power and grace of God. Yet be not surprised, Biblical words and concepts have slowly eroded over time to become a water down version of its original meaning. That is why we all need to become practicing theologians to some degree.

faith

My belief and trust is in Jesus Christ. He allows us to take part with Him in His story which is restoring creation back to God’s original intent. He has my back. My belief and trust is built on His faith, His work of salvation, His plans for humanity, and His ability to make it all happen for  His goodness and the goodness of all under His dominion.

So the next time you hear someone mention faith, be sure you both have the same definition of faith in mind. Otherwise, who is being radical and missing out in the enjoyment of life in Christ?

Dr. Mike

ENJOYMENT WITH PURPOSE

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Someone asked me this question other day; “isn’t enjoying life in Christ just being narcistic?” I had to smile and then refrain from going into a one hour sermon on the blessings of life in Christ. However, I could understand his/her dilemma. In our culture today, which is very probably more self-absorbent than our forefathers, being joyous is sometimes associated with having everything we want, when we want it, and how we want it. However, life in Christ is just the opposite when compared to the up-side down world we live in.

Enjoyment is learning to live with God in the center of everything we do. It is enjoying His creation and realizing the purpose behind it. It is being a faithful steward. It is realizing that God created everything in this world to be enjoyed and shared with others. He inspired Solomon to write that what is enjoyable for humanity is to experience gladness with the basic routines of life that includes eating, drinking, and working. The one who finds a good mate likewise receives a gift from God. That everything made under the sun was created for mankind’s enjoyment. The problem of course is the sinful nature that leads us to rebel against God’s ways. Because of sin and its effect upon a broken world, much of what God created for good becomes perverted and harmful against oneself and others.

Now we are not condoning harming others for our joy.  Real joy harms no one. Real joy uplifts the spirit and inspires everyone around. Real joy reminds us that God is good, loving, and full of radiant life himself. That He created everything to share with us. That everything He made was very good and for our good. Joy is one of the attributes of the Spirit. As the Spirit lives in us, His character, attitude, and divine nature rubs off against us, and like a contagious virus that fights against bacteria, His Spirit influences and impacts us along the way.

My apology for those who I may have offended by enjoying the life God has made for me.  My prayer is that our Triune God may likewise create a new heart in you so that your joy may likewise be full.

Enjoying Life in Christ,

Dr. Mike

WHERE DOES YOUR RECOGNIZATION COME FROM?

A DISCIPLE’S PRAYER
PRAY 9

Dear Wonderful Dad:
You are my success, joy, and recognition in everything I do. You surround me with your Grace and Presence each and every day. You give me more than I deserve. You make my cup overflow with your abundant riches. Everything I own is a loan from you. You created everything for us to share in and we likewise share it with others. Without you there is nothing worth owning, possessing, or having. You add value to everything because you created value. I can never express my gratitude and thankfulness for your involvement in my life. Everything is because of you.

If I have not express my thanks to you today, let me say thank you again and again. If I have already expressed my thanks to you today, express it again. There is not enough time in a day to thank you for your Grace, your Gifts, but more importantly just knowing you. We humbly thank you and express our gratitude.

word 14

 

“so we, who are many, are one body in Christ,
and individually members one of another.”
Romans 12:5

Why do you serve? Do you want to let the world know how good of a person you are? Does ii make you feel important? Or is it just a part of your nature? Do you truly believe it is more blessed to give than receive?
 

I just finished reading an old Discipleship Journal magazine which had an article entitled “Secret Service.” The article outlined how a few Christ-followers are serving others incognito. They practice the scripture of not letting your right-hand know what your other hand is doing in serving others. When they help others they do it either through a third party or in secret. At the end of the day, all glory goes to God and the act. They just receive the personal satisfaction of helping others without the fanfare. I love it.
 

Was Jesus’ primary attitude to draw attention to Him or to help others for their sake with as little fanfare as possible? Did Jesus die for us because He wanted to achieve personal glory or because He Loves us? When He walked the earth, who did He give the glory to?
 

As His disciple, I have learned that the glory and honor belongs to Jesus, my Heavenly Dad, and the Holy Spirit. All the glory and praise is God’s. I have come to realize that everything I accomplish, whether in service or for personal gain, I achieve only because of God’s grace. For starters, He gives me life itself. He gives me the air to breathe, makes my heart tick, and mind to operate effectively (unless I damage it). He gives me His Spirit of compassion and love. He allows me to work and earn an income. He allowed me to be born in America, the land of physical wealth and personal freedom. He blesses me so I can bless others. He provides me the opportunities to serve. He teaches me the joy and privilege of serving. No wonder all the praises and glory go to Him. Everything begins and ends with Him.
 

I don’t need the recognition anymore. My recognition comes from Him. I am His disciple and He takes exceptionally good care of me. All recognition goes to Him. What about you? Where are you in your relationship with Jesus?

 

Dr. Mike

 

WHAT DOES SCRIPTURE SAY ABOUT THE WORD OF GOD? PART 2

(Scriptural Review Continued)

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2 Tim 4:2-4
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
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Psalm 119:9-172  

 

How can a young man keep his way pure?  By living according to your word…I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against youteach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. Do good to your servant, and I will live;I will obey your word. Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. I am a stranger on earth;do not hide your commands from me. My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.preserve my life according to your word…teach me your decrees. Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders. My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your wordI have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws. I hold fast to your statutes…I run in the path of your commands,for you have set my heart free.Teach me, O LORD… Give me understanding…Direct me in the path of your commands… Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.   Fulfill your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared. Take away the disgrace I dread,for your laws are good. How I long for your precepts! Preserve my life in your righteousness.May your unfailing love come to me, O LORD,your salvation according to your promise; then I will answer the one who taunts me, for I trust in your wordDo not snatch the word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws. I will always obey your law, for ever and ever. I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame, for I delight in your commands because I love them. I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and I meditate on your decrees.Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. The arrogant mock me without restraint,but I do not turn from your law. I remember your ancient laws, O LORD, and I find comfort in them…You are my portion, O LORD; I have promised to obey your words. I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise. I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands…Do good to your servant according to your word, O LORD. Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in your commands. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees…Your hands made me and formed me;give me understanding to learn your commands. May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word. I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous,and in faithfulness you have afflicted me. May your unfailing love be my comfort,according to your promise to your servant. Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight…My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word… Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures. Your laws endure to this day,for all things serve you…Oh, how I love your law!I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word.  I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste,sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts;therefore I hate every wrong path.Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my pathI have taken an oath and confirmed it,that I will follow your righteous laws……You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word…Sustain me according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.

… Deal with your servant according to your love and teach me your decrees. I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.

Your statutes are wonderful;therefore I obey them. The unfolding of your words gives light;it gives understanding to the simple. I open my mouth and pant,longing for your commands. Turn to me and have mercy on me,as you always do to those who love your name. Direct my footsteps according to your word;let no sin rule over me. Redeem me from the oppression of men, that I may obey your precepts. Make your face shine upon your servant and teach me your decrees…

May my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word. May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise. May my lips overflow with praise,for you teach me your decrees. May my tongue sing of your word,for all your commands are righteous. May your hand be ready to help me,for I have chosen your precepts. I long for your salvation, O LORD,and your law is my delight.  Let me live that I may praise you,and may your laws sustain me. I have strayed like a lost sheep.Seek your servant,for I have not forgotten your commands.   NIV

 

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2 Tim 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.     NIV
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Col 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…
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Eph 6:17
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
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Eph 5:25-27
… just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
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Gal 6:6
Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.
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2 Cor 4:1-5
Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
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2 Cor 2:17
Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.
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Acts 6:2-4
So the twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
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John 17: 6-8,14,17-18
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them…I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
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Deut 30:11-14
Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
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Mark 16:20
Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
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Matt 13: 18-23
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower meansWhen anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”     NIV
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Matt 8:8-11
The 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. For 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.”When 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.

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Isa 55:11
… so is My word (The LORD’s) that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.    NIV
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Psalm 33:4-9
For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses.  Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him.  For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.    NIV
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Genesis 15:1-6
After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:”Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars–if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.    NIV
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I Samuel 15:23-26
For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
he has rejected you as king.” Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the LORD’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them. Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD.”But Samuel said to him, “I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you as king over Israel!”     NIV
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Deut 8:3-5
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.    NIV

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What way does the Word impact your relationship with others?

WHAT DOES SCRIPTURE SAY ABOUT “THE WORD OF GOD?” Part 1

(When there is a subject on my mind, I enjoy gathering as many scriptures together for an overview of God’s perspective – this is what we did here)

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Col 1:25-28
I (Paul) have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
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I Pet 1:23-25
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For,”All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.”
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Eph 1:13-14
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.
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I Thess 2:13
And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.
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Heb 4:12-13
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
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Acts 20:32
“Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
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I John 2:5
But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him.
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Roman 10:17
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
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All scriptures are from the New International Version of the Bible unless noted.


Heb 1:3
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
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John 5:24
“I (Jesus) tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
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I Tim 4:4-5
For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgivingbecause it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
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2 Pet 3:5-7
But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
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John 1:1-2, 14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginningThe Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
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Isa 66:2
Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the LORD.This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit,
and trembles at my word.
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Heb 6:4-6
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
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Jam1:22-25
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it saysAnyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-he will be blessed in what he does.
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Heb 5:12-14
In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
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 How does THE WORD Impact your life?