Saturday, March 29, 2014

The God Kind of Faith

Today’s Bible Reading:
Deuteronomy 11:1-12:32, Luke 8:22-39, Psalm 70:1-5, Proverbs 12:4

            What is the Faith of God?  In Mark 11:22, Jesus told his disciples to “Have the Faith of God(Worrell).  Many translations say “Have Faith in God”, but in context of what is going on in the story, Jesus speaks to a fig tree and tells it that no one will eat its fruit ever again, and after He said Have the Faith of God he explained what happens when you exercise this faith.

Mar 11:22  And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.  For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.  Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Do you believe that what you say will happen?

Remember, Jesus said if you can Say It, then you ALREADY have the faith for it!!!

Mat_17:20  And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. 

            Forget about the size of the mustard seed, that is what people focus on most of the time, but it is the speaking and believing part that determines whether or not something will be impossible unto you.

So, The Faith of God is speaking and believing.  Let’s see a few examples of this:

1.      Creation in Genesis – Let there be Light, Let there be Land, Let there be Man.
2.      Abraham – Father of Many Nations
3.      Jesus – Let’s go to the other side.

            Our reading today in Luke 8:22-29 is a perfect example of The Faith of God.  Jesus and the disciples load up into the boat and Jesus says “Let’s go to the other side”.  Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.  Jesus is the Word, and when He speaks, we can receive faith.  He has spoken in this story, and the opportunity was there for the disciples to go through the storm without fear & terror.  When the Word says you were healed, then you too can rest.  And when you say what the Word says and pray what the Word says, then you can speak to your mountain of sickness and it shall be removed! 

Instead of saying “we perish”, you can say “He sent His Word and Healed Me!”

Rest in God’s Word & Go to the Other Side.
Pastor Luke Willis

Friday, March 28, 2014

Faith Works By Love

Today’s Bible Reading:
Deuteronomy 9:1-10:22, Luke 8:4-21, Psalm 69:19-36, Proverbs 12:2-3

            Today we will be looking at two kinds of righteousness in the Bible and how to recognize pride in our life.  Not in our neighbors life, or our spouse’s nor in anyone else’s life.  We, including myself, will focus on ourselves.  Yeah!

“Pride tells lies and Pride believes lies about itself.” – Keith Moore

Obadiah 1:3  The pride of thy heart hath deceived thee, O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground?

Notice Satan’s pride in his statement in Isaiah.  He too was deceived by pride.

Isaiah 14:12-15  How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.  Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

Now, let’s look at our reading today in Deuteronomy, and God’s warning and strong words to Israel not to be deceived by this issue of pride:

Deu 9:3-4 (CEV)  But the LORD your God has promised to go ahead of you, like a raging fire burning everything in its path. So when you attack your enemies, it will be easy for you to destroy them and take their land.  After the LORD helps you wipe out these nations and conquer their land, don't think he did it because you are such good people. You aren't good--you are stubborn! No, the LORD is going to help you, because the nations that live there are evil, and because he wants to keep the promise he made to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
      Remember, when we are in covenant with God, he does the fighting for us!  He is warning the people here not to believe that they are victorious because of their righteousness, but because of what God has done and will do.

Deu 9:4-5 (KJV)  Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee. Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations.

I love verse 6: 
Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.

Then in verses 7-24 God reminds them of their failures.  Now, this is the Old Covenant.  Aren’t you glad that He doesn’t remind us of our failures?  He chooses to throw the memory of our sin into the “Sea of Forgetfulness”!  Praise The Lord!  We have a “Better Covenant established upon Better Promises” (Heb. 8:6)!    People may remind us of our failures, we may remind ourselves, and even our enemy may try to bring those things up in our mind, but the Word says that God “Cleanses us from ALL Unrighteousness”!  All means ALL!

The first kind of righteousness is called “Self Righteousness”.  This type of righteousness comes from that deceitful pride and usually manifests in religious works.  It comes from man’s nature in an attempt to earn our right standing with God.  The first example of Self Righteousness we see in the Bible is from Genesis 3 when Adam & Eve sinned and they sewed fig leaves together because they were aware of their nakedness.  What did they do?  They tried to cover up their sin with a religious act.  We need to be able to examine ourselves to find out our motives in volunteering in the church.  Remember, we are using the Word to shine light in our life alone, not in someone else!  Ok?  Good.

Isa 64:6  But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness’s are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Remember the other day I said to get a Strong’s Concordance?  These “filthy rags” in the Hebrew are used menstrual cloths.  What do we do with those?  Throw them away and avoid them as best as we can.  This is what God does when there is pride and self-righteousness in our life:

Jas 4:6  But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

God has called us to Humble Ourselves!  Biblically, you do this three ways:  Prayer, Worship & Fasting.

The Second type of Righteousness is “The Righteousness of God”.  Jesus is the Way, The Truth & The Life and no one comes to the Father but through Him (John 14:6).  The Righteousness of God is revealed from Faith to Faith and the just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17).  Faith is calling those things that be not as though they were (Romans 4:17) – Speaking & Believing.  This is what Abraham did in Genesis 15:1-6.  God changed his name to the “Father of Many Nations” and Abraham called himself that for many years even though he didn’t have any children.  He had faith in God’s Word and he “counted it to him for righteousness”.

When you asked Jesus to be Lord of your life and you believed He is alive, God also counted it unto you as righteousness:

2Co 5:17-21  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.   And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;
 that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

See, this is righteousness “IN HIM” – Only!  We cannot do it with religious acts.  We humble ourselves so that God won’t resist us.  We serve in the church out of love, only.  Because the Love of God is shed abroad in our heart and He is doing the work through us.

Gal_5:6  For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision;
 but faith which worketh by love.

Faith works by Love!

Pastor Luke Willis

Thursday, March 27, 2014

"Jesus answering said"

Today’s Bible Reading:
Deuteronomy 7:1-8:20, Luke 7:36-8:3, Psalm 69:1-18, Proverbs 12:1

            I love this story of Jesus at the Pharisee’s house in Luke 7:36-50 because it gives us a lot of information about God’s grace and his ability to know us better than we know ourselves.  This is a story of Jesus’ first out of three anointing’s.  It opens when Simon asks Jesus to join him for dinner at his house.  A woman enters the house and begins to lay at Jesus’ feet crying and wiping his feet with her hair and anointing them with oil.  She was “a sinner” and in our reading today out of Psalms 69, you can imagine her thoughts and attitude would be the same as David’s:

Psa 69:1-3 Save me, God! I am about to drown.  I am sinking deep in the mud, and my feet are slipping. I am about to be swept under by a mighty flood.  I am worn out from crying, and my throat is dry. I have waited for you till my eyes are blurred.

Psa 69:5  You know my foolish sins. Not one is hidden from you.

Psa 69:12-17  Rulers and judges gossip about me, and drunkards make up songs to mock me.  But I pray to you, LORD. So when the time is right, answer me and help me with your wonderful love.  Don't let me sink in the mud, but save me from my enemies and from the deep water.  Don't let me be swept away by a flood or drowned in the ocean or swallowed by death.  Answer me, LORD! You are kind and good. Pay attention to me! You are truly merciful.  Don't turn away from me. I am your servant, and I am in trouble. Please hurry and help!

            She definitely got the attention of everyone in the room.  Do we pray expecting God to pay attention to us? 

            Now, the Pharisee in verse 39 “thought within himself”, he didn’t say anything but thought this:  “This man, if he were a prophet would have known who and what manner of woman this is that touches him:  for she is a sinner”.  He was questioning whether or not Jesus was a prophet.  We need to be very careful not to have this attitude about people, because we know the rest of this story and Jesus’ attitude on this subject. 

            Jesus knew Simon’s innermost thoughts, just like he knows ours.  Did Jesus call out Simon and embarrass him about his thought?  No.  Did he say “Hey Simon I am a prophet and I will prove it to you:  This lady is a sinner!!”  No.  Jesus was very humble and corrected Simon in love didn’t he?  He told him a parable to help Simon understand love and grace.  Jesus forgives her sins in verse 48 and what do you know, in verse 49 the ones with Simon had thoughts within themselves “Who is this that forgives sins also?”  Jesus replies to their thoughts:

Luk 7:50  And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

Faith in Jesus’ name and in his blood still saves today!

Eph 1:7  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Eph 2:8-9  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

1Jn_5:13  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

Pastor Luke Willis