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Archive for the ‘belief’ Category

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. – Colossians 1:15 (NIV)

Jesus is the only the begotten Son of God the Father.  He has an earthly birth to a virgin mother through the power of the Spirit of God.  Some don’t teach about Jesus being born to a virgin.  Some do not teach Jesus as being God and human, divine and flesh.  Theologically, that takes some real faith and belief.

Our perspective on Jesus is built up by the witness of the Word of God.  The Bible tells us about Jesus.  The Bible teaches us about Jesus.  The sacred biblical text asserts the divinity and deity of Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One.  If we trust and believe the Bible as truth, then we must accept who the Bible says Jesus is and not any other source, even those written by Christian theologians and others.

Paul wrote of Jesus being the image of God who man has not seen.  He is supported in the Scriptures by the words of John in both the Gospel of John and in John’s first epistle to the saints.  Jesus came and offered us Immanuel, “God among (with) us.” As John stated plainly in the opening chapter of the Gospel of John: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (v. 14, NIV).

We need to believe beyond what we see.  Many of Jesus’ own disciples, those closest to Him, did not believe that He had risen and returned.  Thomas is given the label of  “Doubting Thomas” due to his failure to believe unless he had seen Jesus with His scarred hands and His pierced and wounded side for himself with his own eyes.  Yet, did not Peter run to see the tomb, with John following along with him, after receiving the news of the risen Lord?  Jesus said it plainly in John 20:29: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known. – John 1:18 (NIV)

No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. – John 6:46 (NIV)

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Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
and do not do what I say?
– Luke 6:46 (NIV)
You shall observe My judgments and keep
My ordinances, to walk in them:

I am the LORD your God.
– Leviticus 18:4 (NKJV)

When accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we also accept Him as Lord.  We embrace His sacrifice for our salvation.  We accept His suffering for our sins.  Yet, we stumble when it comes to His lordship over our lives.
 

In Leviticus 18, God addresses His people through Moses the man of God, affirming His relationship with the people by stating repetitively: I am the LORD your God.  The phrase repeats throughout the divine dialogue between God and His people.  God states it through Moses and establishes His relationship with His people based on His decrees and statutes given in the wilderness.
 

Read Psalm 145:13. It speaks of God’s “everlasting kingdom.” Nathan shared the words of God with David in 2 Samuel 7.  God promised David: And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever (2 Samuel 7:16, KJV).
 
Let us fast forward to Jesus walking the earth as the Son of David.  He came as the Messiah and the Christ, “the Anointed One.” The Savior would reign and rule as Lord forever.  His kingdom would extend beyond Jewish bloodlines like He shared through His prophets.  He came and sacrificed Himself for us.  He kept His promise to redeem us.  He offers the sinner in us all reconciliation.  He lives as our Lord.
 

Look at how we handle Him ruling over us as Lord.  We cry out to Him, expecting Him to offer us healing and help.  Yet, we must regard Him as Lord.  We must serve as His loyal subjects, for He is the King.  Those who serve the King do as He says.  They do each and every act according to His commandments in true submission.
 
If He is your Lord, do as He says.  Leave your ego out of it.  Keep your faith as your focus.  Do just as He says.  He is Lord.  Submit to Him.  Do as He says.

 
He is your Lord.
 
Do what He says for you to do.
 
Do just what the Lord says.

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What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home

 – Joan Osborne

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
Oscar Wilde (Lady Windermere’s Fan)

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? – Psalm 139:7 (NIV)

We spend a lot of our earthly time debating on whether God exists or not.  We tend to make a big deal about the possibilities of God being the Almighty or just some “supreme being.” The truth of the matter is that we just cannot keep debating what natural occurrences make obvious.  God does exist.

Where?

If your only notion of God’s existence is in heaven, then you are gravely mistaken.  You may also want to check your thoughts on how you view God.  You do understand that Jesus said it this way: “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24, ESV).  We have to see God as a spiritual being who occupies any and all spaces possible.

Psalm 139 tells us that we need to be mindful of our feeble efforts to flee God’s presence.  He’s all over, no matter where we go.  He’s here and there.  Let it be understood that we may not fully understand everything about God, but do understand enough to know that His omnipresence means that He is just as real in your life as He is in mine.  He isn’t any less present during your hard times just because i got my prayers in earlier than you.  He can still show up for the both of us.

Psalm 139
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1Lord, you have searched me
and you know me.
2You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O Lord.
5You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths,a you are there.
9If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
-Psalm 139:1-10 (NIV)

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Without Faith

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. -Hebrews 11:6 (NLT)

How could anyone expect to please God without faith?

God is the one who  those who believe in Him and seek Him with sincerity.  That’s what the Word says.  In fact, the Word also says that it is impossible to please God without faith.  If you are seeking to please God, you must have faith in God.  The two go together.  That is what the Word says.

If we have faith, we can truly live lives that are pleasing to God.  Faith is necessary for a life that pleases God.  Isn’t that the example set by Jesus? He lived and did what pleased the Father.  He did not do His own will but the will of the Father.  look at what Paul wrote about the Son of God: 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.– Colossians 1:19-20 (NIV).

Is your life full of faith?

Are you living to please the Father?

Get serious about your faith.  If you believe in Him, live a life that is pleasing to Him.  He will reward those who believe in Him and seek Him.  Let your faith open the doorway to a livelihood that would be pleasing to God.

Don’t be the person who is trying to live a life that pleases God without faith.  Yes, God can do the impossible.  That is a given.  However, God will not force anyone to believe in Him.  Once someone has believed in Him, God has so much to offer that no one could ever be the same.

Don’t become the man or woman who wants to please God, but never dares ever believes in God.

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 In the beginning God…- Genesis 1:1 (NASB)
Genesis Record, The: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings

Trust me! I am being totally honest here.  The rest of this study will not take so long, but I must tread through this slowly.

Genesis starts with an opening phrase that presents God already in existence “in the beginning.” It does not presume Him to be existent.  It states that He was there “in the beginning.”

God was already on the scene “in the beginning.” Elohim was presentHenry M. Morris says that
Elohim, the “Creator” name of God, also speaks of God as “uni-plural.” John opened the first chapter of the Gospel that bears his name by stating that the Word was in the beginning with God and as God, and then restates it again in the second verse of the first chapter.  Therefore, we see that God’s existence from the beginning is necessary to establish the deity of Christ (the Word) for the Gospel of John that was written so that people would believe in Him.

Belief is critical at this point.  There is no middle of the road here.  You either believe that God exists or you do not.  You either believe in a big bang theory or a big “G” (God) theologyThe Bible is not seeking to prove God’s existence.  The Bible affirms our notion of a “higher power” being more than something.  No, it is someone.  It is the OneIt is the true and living God.  It is ElohimIt is the triune God.

From the very beginning, the Bible requires that you believe God to be true or it’s not even worth continuing to read.

*From Eden to Egypt is a series for Life Path Ministries by Rev. Bruce Jackson that chronicles a daily study and reading of the Book of Genesis and The Genesis Record by Henry M. Morris.

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The ESV Study Bible
I am captivated every single time I read it.
I crack open my Bible and thumb through cheese-cloth thin pages that crinkle like crisp dollar bills as I pass over the preliminary pages.  I bypass the pages that tell of the inerrant and infallibe of God’s Word handed down from heaven by His Holy Spirit that allowed power to work through divinely-inspired men that led to the Council of Nicea and other gatherings of rulers and rule-makers alike that led to the creation and compilation of the Bible as we know it today. 
That’s when the words hit me.
In the beginning. . .
 
They seem to linger in mid-air somewhere just above my grasp.  They don’t drift or stray.  They just hang there in some solitary space perfectly fit to between understanding and faith.  They are wedged between belief and some alternative instinct that leads me to desire to fully understand something by laying out as much as evidence and facts as possible to arrive at a solution.
In the beginning. . .
 
Was that in the beginning as far as I can remember? Or, are you talking about in the beginning in reference to some time even prior to Moses’ being born in the midst of a cruel regime of Egyptian bondage or Noah even entertained the Lord’s leading of building an ark?
In the beginning. . .
 
No matter how you look at it, “In the beginning” works for Genesis since it means “origin.”  It is the story of creation.  The family line of Adam stems from the beginning. The animal kingdom initiates in the beginning.  Everything comes out of the creation, which marks our very beginning.
Awe seems to sink into my members as I settle in for the ride of a lifetime.  I have restarted with Genesis again as many times before.  As I restart reading God’s Word again, I restart from the same famed verse and very simple prepositional phrase that says so much in three little words.
In the beginning. . .

*From Eden to Egypt is a series for Life Path Ministries by Rev. Bruce Jackson that chronicles a daily study and reading of the Book of Genesis and The Genesis Record by Henry M. Morris.

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But I tell you the truth. . . – John 16:7 (NIV)

Jesus combatted tradition with truth.  He shared the truth openly.  He did so with His disciples.  He also did so with the multitudes.  In fact, He even did so with those who opposed Him like the Pharisees and Sadducees.  Jesus took on tradition with truth.

In Matthew 5, Jesus takes on tradition with two repetitive phrases: “You have heard that it was said” and “But I tell you.” He speaks of “You have heard that it was said” in verses 21, 27, 38, and 43.  Verses 31 and 33 are some variation of the same phrase.  He speaks of  “But I tell you” in verses 22, 28, 32, 39, and 44.  Jesus addresses tradition, but He accentuates truth.  Jesus opens with what has been said, but He discloses how to truly do what pleases God the Father.  He offers the truth as opposed to tradition.

Are hearing truth or honoring traditions? The Lord offered truth that outweighed tradition.  If you have truly heard the truth, test tradition against the truth.  Does it withstand the test? If so, uphold it and continue with it.  If not, you may need to discard it and discontinue it.  Put your traditions to the test with truth.

The teachings of the truth allow us to live and lead by the truth.  Learn the truth.  Live in the truth.  Lead by the truth.

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.- John 8:32 (NLT)

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The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.- Psalm 14:1 (NIV)

The words of  Psalm 14:1  are echoed in Psalm 53:1 verbatim.  I believe BibleTrack’s Bible commentary on the Psalms does an apt comparison of the psalms.  What David says to open each psalm speaks clearly about the fool and what the fool has to say.  Much like David, we have to learn to identify, discern and detect when we are in the presence of a fool.  For those who may not know, here is part of how the foolish deal with faith.

 

The foolish believe that you can have favor without faith.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.– Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

 

The foolish believe that you can have freedom without faith.

Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.-Galatians 3:25 (NIV)

The foolish believe that they have a right to offend others.
A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.-Proverbs 29:11 (NIV)

The foolish are foolish for a reason.  The foolish live by foolish ways.  Others should see a fool and beware.  The fool can be a danger to himself as well as others.  His destructive ways can lead to his own destruction or the destruction of others.  Understand that fools don’t lead people to faithful living.  Fools lead people down a road of destruction and danger.   Don’t be surprised by what comes out of a fools mouth.  Be surprised at what a fool says about God, faith and other such matters.

 

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“It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”- St.Francis of Assisi
 
Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Yet, can you have faith when you have not heard it? Can you be saved when it has not been preached to you? Romans 10:13-14 say: “No.” You can’t call on the Lord when you have not heard about the Lord and you can’t be saved without the Word entering into your hearing and your heart. So the believer is responsible for sharing the Word. Yep. That’s right. Yes, the Word is to be hidden in your heart and it is to be written on the tablet of your heart, but it must come forth. It must be preached. Truly, it is to be shared with others (Romans 10:14-15). The Good News is to be so good to you that you can’t keep it to yourself. You reach others when you share it. You reach out with compassion and concern when you share it. You reach out from the heart to the heart when you share His Word. Someone’s eternal life is depending on it.
Our preaching should lead to us reaching people for Christ.  We have to share the Word so that others will hear the Word and believe in faith.  We don’t need to reason with people with logic and other manmade means.  We need to reach people with the Word of God.  The Word convicts and cuts to the heart of man by the Spirit of God beyond our evangelistic eloquence.  Speak from the Word and let the Word reach the person’s very soul.  Preach in order to reach others.

“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”- St. Francis of Assisi

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Thank God that the kingdom of God is not divided into areas for big, important
people and areas for little, unimportant people.
– A.W. Tozer

We have come a long way since Jesus ascended into heaven, leaving His disciples to await the coming of the Helper, the Holy Spirit of God. Yet, we seem to have splintered away from the Way. The early church was rooted in its actions and interactions with each other and the outside world. In fact, it was a known fact among the people that many respected the believers of that time. Nowadays, we have many denominations that it can be hard to keep up with who is doing what and what is going on with whom. Nevertheless, we seize the opportunity to possibly bridge some of the divide that men have created and build bonds on what Christ has established as the head of the church.

We need see Christ as the focus. Our agreement should be on the main thing, and the main thing should be Christ. If we can’t agree on baptism, the Lord’s Supper or the gifts of the Spirit, let us at least agree by faith that Christ is the main thing that we should focus upon.

We can agree that there are works to be done. We may not agree on how they should be done. We may not agree on whether they add to our salvation or not, but we certainly can agree that there are works that need to be done.

There is an enemy. He may take many forms. He do many things within this world. Our particular theology may see him as one thing as opposed to what other brothers and sisters may think, but we can agree that we have a common enemy who seeks to kill and destroy us.

Our nature is sinful. We may not be able to recite the whole five-point Calvinism and various “ministries” of the church based on our particular doctrine with agreement. Yet, we can admit that we need the pure and righteous sacrifice of the Lamb of God to take care of our sinfulness. We should be able to agree upon that much.

In doing so, we will find plenty of work to do based upon our common ground. We should find much to pray about based upon what we have accepted as true and agreeable. We can at least agree that we need to pray, even if we don’t agree on how to pray. Amen.

 

 

 

 

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