Faith +II

ADD TO YOUR FAITH

Last week we reviewed the first three of seven things we should supplement to our faith. This week, we will look at the other four.

Stick-two-it-edness. That’s a real thing. Some people call it grit. Scripture calls it steadfastness. It means to endure with hope and patience. Believers are called to push through life’s challenges and not give up hope because our hope is eternal. I love stories about believers who have faced great trials and yet have remained hopeful and joyful as they stay focused on the eternal hope in Christ. These are an inspiration to me.

Add godliness to your faith. Honor and revere the Lord. To have a true understanding of who He is, will cause us to revere, honor, respect, and fear Him. God created the universe with His verbal command. He sustains every molecule in it. He is perfect, yet He made a way for us to know Him and to be adopted as sons and daughters.

In Jesus’ last prayer before being arrested, He prayed for the unity of the church. We are to be united as a family of believers. Unity and love is a way that we are to be unique from the world. We see divisions and hatred around us. But the church must demonstrate brotherly affection. Caring for, praying for, supporting, holding accountable, and fellowshipping with one another.

Lastly, we are to add love to our faith. Love is not a feeling. Love is putting others ahead of ourselves. Love is an action – it is a verb. 1 John 3:18 says, “let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth”.  And love does not mean we never confront. That is selfishness and pride, as we ignore what should be dealt with to protect our own feelings.

 

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Faith +

What can be added to our faith? Nothing can be added to our faith for the purpose of our salvation.


For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God

Ephesians 2:8


 

But, the Apostle Peter, in 2 Peter 1:5-8, outlined seven things we can “supplement” our faith with, to help ensure we are effective in our knowledge of Christ.


ADD TO YOUR FAITH


Add to your faith virtue. We are called to do things with all of our effort towards excellence. In every area of life, we are to do the very best we can and to strive to do it as well as it can be done. It is a wonderful thing to see a person serve with excellence and humility.

On top of virtue we are to add knowledge. The greatest source of knowledge comes from scripture. We will never exhaust the knowledge we can find in scripture. It should be a lifelong hunger for Believers to feed on God’s Word. In addition, we should be humble enough to never stop learning in general. Learning about our field of occupation, about people, about our spouse, or about Gods creation enables us to serve Christ more effectively.

How many lives have been ruined due to a lack of self-control? How many stories of what might have been? Scripture reminds us that to “set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). For me, it is a never-ending source of temptation to fulfill the longings of the flesh; to over indulge, to react out of pride and selfishness, to become lazy, and the list goes on and on. Fasting is a good reminder of just how strong the flesh is!

More to come…

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Prayer and Statistics

I have a confession to make. I like data. And charts and graphs. Its how I sort things out in life. It brings clarity out of confusion.


Pray without ceasing

1 Thessalonians 5:17


 

The command for Christians to pray is obvious. Examples are given throughout scripture and the Lord Jesus prayed frequently and fervently. He also gave instructions of how to pray.


Prayer in all scripture

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people

1 Timothy 2:1


The word “pray” shows up 98 times in the ESV of the Bible. 30% of the time, someone is praying for another person. How many of our prayers are for others? How often do we ask someone to pray for us? Telling someone you will be praying for them is an encouragement. But be sure to do it!


OT prayers

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14


In the old testament, we find 33% of the prayers spoken are seeking forgiveness. Too often we fail to seek Gods forgiveness from the sinful things we do, say, and think. We try to push that out of our mind, failing to realize we cannot have a restored relationship with Christ if we are not seeking His forgiveness on an ongoing basis.


NT prayers

…Lord teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples

Luke 11:1b


 

We can learn much from the model of prayer that Jesus gave us. Additionally, 24% of the time when prayer in mentioned in the NT, it is instructional – teaching us how to pray.

  • Give God the honor due Him – “hallowed be your name”
  • Pray for others
  • Seek forgiveness
  • Seek spiritual rescue from sin and temptation
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We Don’t Deserve Heaven

Many people believe that the way to heaven is through good works. Today I heard about a man who died unexpectedly at a young age. A friend and admirer said they knew this young man must be in heaven now because “he was a great human being and had a heart of gold”.


For their is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Romans 3:22b-23


Imagine a contest where people are challenged to hold their breath as long as possible and the goal was to hold your breath for 100 years! This is completely impossible. Nobody can do it. Can some hold their breath longer than others? Absolutely. Can a few individuals hold their breath for an exceptionally long time? Certainly. The record is 22 minutes and 22 seconds. But, nobody can come remotely close to 100 years.

Gods is holy, which means He is set apart and perfect. We are not. Are some of us “better” than others? Yes. The apostle Paul wrote that he was “chief among sinners”. If Paul knew me if he might grant me that title. We cannot earn our way to God or heaven. We cant be good enough.


But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:57


Jesus Christ was the only person who ever lived a perfect life. Then He willingly died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins. He did what we can never do. Then He allowed us to be adopted as children of God. It is a free eternal gift for us to accept. He asks for our life in exchange for true life


He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and life to righteousness. 

1 Peter 3:24


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It’s in Plain Sight

eye

The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome that, “…what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them“. The world we live in, the people we love, the many good things in our lives are all evidences of God’s grace.

It is easy for us to recognize the beauty in creation. How often have you watched a beautiful sunset over the horizon or admired the majesty of the mountains? Are you fortunate enough to live in a region where fall turns the leaves to brilliant bright colors? What about the purity of a freshly fallen snow?

For the animal lovers among us, who hasn’t been blessed with the friendship and loyalty of a pet? And young families never seem to tire of the zoo and wondering at the variety and personalities of all the animals, both big and small.

For parents, how much more love can one have than when they first held their newborn child? Did you not marvel at this life you had a part in creating? Your life changed from that moment on. And who doesn’t want to come to the defense of an innocent child in need? We may be skeptical when an adult is “in need”, but it is rare for us to doubt a small child that is in need.

God has given us His creation to demonstrate His amazing power and glory. However, too often instead of thanking Him and worshiping Him, we instead “exchange the truth about God for a lie and worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator” as Paul warned the Romans nearly two thousand years ago.

Let us direct our admiration and honor where it belongs; to the Creator who is blessed forever!

 

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Is there a God? Three Things to Consider.

God in Hebrew AramaicThe question of whether or not there is a god must be the most critical of all questions. The difference between yes and no leads us into vastly different lifestyles. More importantly, the difference has eternal consequences. Everyone has their answer. The question is, how have you developed your answer to this essential question?

There are certain observable things that are so unexplainable to the human mind, it should lead a logical and unbiased person to the conclusion that there must be a greater power behind it.


Size and Magnitude of the Universe

  • Our solar system, is 1.87 light years across (~11 trillion miles).
  • Our galaxy is 100,000 light years across and contains ~200 billion stars.
  • There are at least another 100 billion galaxies.
  • The known universe is 92 billion light years across.

Did all of this happen by accident? Is it sustained by chance?


The Complexity of Life

Multitudes of books have been written in the debate of evolution and intelligent design. We do not have space to adequately address these arguments, nor do I have the intellect to thoroughly discuss the topic. But, look at the beauty of nature, where many diverse forms of life exist and create a self sustaining system. Or, consider the human body and its ability to heal, adapt, and learn. Certainly we can all agree that life is a beautiful and complex thing. In our pursuit of answering our god question, we have to address this question regarding the origins of life.


Beginnings

No matter which side of the debate you are on, you have to ultimately come to the conclusion that something or someone has existed forever. Can we believe something came from nothing? Where did it all begin? How did it all begin?


For Further Reading on this topic

 

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Our Most Important Discipline

disciplineAs we begin the new year, here is a reminder for us of the critical importance of reading Gods Word on a daily basis.

 

  1. Gods Word is our source of truth (instruction manual for life)

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

 

  1. It is our source of spiritual life (your starving without it)

 

Matthew 4:4

But he answered, “It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

 

  1. It is our guide book for life (tells us how to go)

 

Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

 

  1. We are to teach others about it (so we have to know it ourselves)

 

Deuteronomy 11:19

Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

 

  1. Gods Word convicts (which we desperately need)

 

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

 

  1. DOING is vital to our effectiveness – hear then do!

 

James 1:22-25

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

 

 

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