Faith and Wholeness

Faith and Wholeness

Notice that faith and wholeness are connected!  Even in the natural realm, if a person doesn’t have faith in their medical team or the medical facility’s reputation, their healing will be impaired or slowed.  If a person doesn’t believe that they WILL get better and if that person doesn’t talk about getting better, then their body will begin to obey their thoughts and their words.

Notice what the Bible teaches us repeatedly about the power of faith.

And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.  (Mk 10:52 ESV)

But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.  (Mt 9:22 NKJV)

And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”  (Mk 5:34)

Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.  (Mt 5:28)

Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.  (Lk 1:45, emphasis added)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— (Eph 2:8)  Each believer has been given the gift of faith.  Let us use this precious gift.

We must place our faith in Jesus Christ!  We must exercise our faith in the power of the Word of God!  We must trust in the powerful, unrelenting, unconditional love of God for us.  He is our Healer; He has compassion [mercy] upon each one of us at all times.  God cannot lie (Tit 1:2), so receive the promises of the Bible as guaranteed! 

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy . . .  (Ps 103:2-4) 

God Brings to Nothing Things That Are

God Brings to Nothing Things That Are

God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.  (1 Cor 1:28-29 ESV)

God has chosen the people that are despised—objects of contempt—to “bring to nothing” things that are! 

In Bible days, God used Gentiles, after they became followers of Jesus Christ, to annihilate the works of the enemy through the working of miracles.  Whatever believers do in serving the Lord does not give them grounds to boast, but rather, it reminds us that we are servants and vessels in the hands of our King.

He breaks in pieces mighty men without inquiry, and sets others in their place.  (Job 34:24 NKJV)  In our modern day terms, the Lord breaks powerful, rich, and influential people by exposing the truth about them in very public ways.  With others who are on the same paths of greed and dominance, He sets them in their place and wakes them up to God’s power when they see their friends endure public exposure and humiliation.

The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down,
and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.
  (Isa 2:11 NKJV)  No human being is entitled to be haughty.  The Lord alone deserves praise, honor, and exaltation. 

Then the angel of the Lord went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead.  (Isa 37:36 NKJV)  This is a shocking but real example of God bringing to nothing things, and people, that exist in order to fulfill His own plans.

You shall seek them and not find them—those who contended with you.  Those who war against you shall be as nothing, as a nonexistent thing.  (Isa 41:12 NKJV, emphasis added)  The Lord is the divine judge of all, and He is the only One who decides when a human being has had all of the chances that He has allotted to them. 

Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.  (Ps 32:10 NKJV)

Glory to God!  Those who are in a close and obedient relationship with Jesus as their Savior and Lord are surrounded by mercy, protection and the blood of the Lamb!  In humility and thanksgiving, with fear and trembling, it is our honor to serve the living God.

Benefits of Our Salvation

Benefits of Our Salvation

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  (Ps 23:6)

We determine that we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever and that goodness and mercy shall follow us by accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Lord.  With that one decision, we also decide to accept all of the benefits and blessings of our salvation—which are unlimited!

Of course, the Bible also informs us that there will be persecution for our faith for which we must be prepared.  (Mt 5:44; 10:23; Lk 21:12)  But we can and should expect both, especially God’s blessings.

The blessings of salvation are many, varied, and unlimited.  You truly need to study the Bible to locate all of the promised blessings, but I love to list at least some of them for people to meditate upon and to rejoice over!

  • God is our shield and surpassingly great reward (Gen 15:1)
  • The Lord is our healer (Ex 15:26)
  • His joy is our strength (Neh 8:10)
  • Jesus is our Open Heaven (Joh 1:51)
  • All of God’s promises to us are answered “Yes” and “So be it” through Jesus, our Lord (2 Cor. 1:20)
  • The Lord gives us a long life (Ps 91:16)
  • God gives us good things to eat and renews our youth (Ps 103:5)
  • God gives us an incorruptible inheritance (1 Pet 1:3-4)
  • God give us eternal life.  (Joh 3:15)

These are just a small handful of the benefits of trusting in God and accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.  Meditate on how much God loves you, and how very much He wants to bless you every single day of your life!  Hallelujah!

Extreme Mercy & Forgiveness

Extreme Mercy & Forgiveness

And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.  (Ac 7:59-60)

Focus on the extreme mercy and forgiveness that Stephen displayed!  Here are people in the process of killing him, and he forgives them and asks the Lord to forgive them.  Then he dies. What mercy!  What forgiveness!  Stephen went to heaven as a martyr for the gospel.

According to Daniel 9:9, mercy and forgiveness belong to God.  The Bible says (see below) that mercy and unlimited forgiveness belong to God.

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, because with the Lord there is mercy and with Him there is unlimited forgiveness.  (Ps 130:7 GW)

In the church of Jerusalem, Stephen was chosen along with six other men to serve as deacons.  As deacons, they would take charge of the gifts of the people, and give assistance to those who were in need, including widows.  The criteria for choosing these men was that they had to have the Spirit of God and to have wisdom. 

Stephen not only cared for the poor, but he began to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone—Jews and Gentiles both.  This conduct enraged some of Jews, who plotted against him.

Clearly, as Stephen shared the Good News, the Holy Spirit used Stephen as an instrument for the Kingdom of God.  History records that Stephen, as he ministered to the people, performed signs, wonders, and miracles among them.  Glory to God!

Stephen clearly loved and obeyed Jesus Christ, his Savior and example in all things.  Stephen emulated the Lord Jesus Christ in his life, work, and even in death. 

This is a good moment to reflect upon our own lives; and to determine whether we are allowing mercy and forgiveness to operate in our lives, our responses, and our actions.

A New Thing

A New Thing

God is always working in the world.  He loves to do a “new thing”! 

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.  (Isa 43:19)

Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.  (Isa 42:9)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  (2 Cor 5:17)

. . . to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.  (Heb 12:24)

God’s new thing will ALWAYS be better than anything that has gone before.  When His plans for one of His people changes, the reason is to improve the plan!

Our God is a God of love, mercy and truth.  He is patient and full of goodness.  God is eternal, self-sufficient, all-powerful and He never changes!  We must learn the nature of our God, and once we do, our faith in Him will be deepened and secure.

Since God knows everything, we can trust that His new thing will also serve the best interests of everyone concerned.   Get on board with God’s new thing!

Not Perfection but Maturity

Not Perfection but Maturity

Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God . . .   (Heb 6:1)

What does the author of Hebrews 6 want us to understand by the word “perfection” as used in this verse?  The Jamieson, Fausset & Brown (JFB) Commentary on Hebrews 6 says this about it: 

perfection–the matured knowledge of those who are “of full age” ( Heb 5:14 ) in Christian attainments.

In the JFB commentary, “full age” can be understood to mean mature.  Once a person is mature in Christian attainments, what does their life look like to others? 

  • This person is not easily swayed by false or erroneous doctrines; but it’s someone who ministers God’s love and mercy to others. (Eph 4:13-16)
  • Their relationship with the Lord remains steadfast, regardless of the current circumstances of their life. (Col 1:23)
  • A mature Christian doesn’t get anxious over things that they can’t control—especially about events reported in the news. (Ps 112:7)
  • He or she will not allow any circumstance of life to disrupt their faith in God nor their daily spiritual habits of quiet time with the Lord, prayer, and Bible reading. (Act 2:42)
  • They maintain their childlike sense of wonder and trust in God. (Mt 18:3)
  • A mature Christian does not compare themselves with others. (2 Cor 10:12)
  • This is a person who is rooted and grounded in love—the love of God for them and the love of God for other people. (Eph 3:17)

The verse at the top of this article (Heb 6:1) reminds each of us that the Lord doesn’t want us to remain stationary in our Christian walk but that we need to build upon the foundational principles of our faith and to grow in maturity in Christ Jesus.

Accepted In the Beloved

Accepted In the Beloved

. . . to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.  (Eph 1:6, emphasis added)

And whoever offers a sacrifice of a peace offering to the Lord, to fulfill his vow, or a freewill offering from the cattle or the sheep, it must be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no defect in it.  (Lev 22:21, emphasis added)

Accepted means:  received; recognized; admitted; acknowledged; welcomed; understood; or allowed. 

In Christ, we are accepted by Almighty God as perfected.  How wonderful and awesome a gift we have been given!

As the verse from Leviticus above demonstrates, an offering (in the OT) had to be perfect in order to be acceptable to the Lord.   Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, slain in our place for our sins and iniquities.

Now, we are accepted into the household of faith, the kingdom of God, and the family of God!  No matter what our past may look like, what our personality is, or what our appearance is—we are welcomed by the loving arms of Jesus!  Hallelujah!

Jesus invites us to come to Him in every circumstance of life and in the face of every challenge, need, or failing.  He is the very embodiment of perfect, unconditional, and unfailing LOVE.  There is mercy (forgiveness, kindness, humanity, generosity) in Christ’s embrace. 

Know, trust, and believe that you’re accepted in Jesus and rejoice!