Faith - Section 7

  1. Hosea 2:19 - I will make you my promised bride forever.  I will be good and fair; I will show you my love and mercy. God made man.  Man rejected God.  God won’t give up until he wins him back.  God will whisper. He will shout.  He will touch and tug. He will take away our burdens; He’ll even take away our blessings.  IF there are a thousand steps between us and Him, He will take all but one.  But he will leave the final one for us.  The choice is ours.  His goal is not to make us happy.  His goal is to make us His.  His goal is not to get you what you want; it is to get you what you need. - From page 510 of Grace for the Moment by Max Lucado.
  2. Believers will reign with Christ over the world (Revelation 20:6). We’ll even rule over angels (1 Corinthians 6:3). Some will be put “in charge of many things” (Matthew 25:21-23). Christ spoke of granting some followers rulership over cities—eleven cities for one, five for another, and none for a third, in proportion to their faithful service (Luke 19:17-24). - From the Kindle Book Money, Possessions and Eternity by Randy Alcorn, at location 2783.
  3. Two jars can both be full, but the one with greater capacity contains more. Likewise, all of us will be full of joy in heaven, but some may have more joy because their capacity for joy will be larger, having been stretched through trusting God in this life.  - From the Kindle Book Money, Possessions and Eternity by Randy Alcorn, at location 2825.
  4. If a man have Christ in his heart, heaven before his eyes, and only as much of temporal blessing as is just needful to carry him safely through life, then pain and sorrow have little to shoot at. WILLIAM BURNS  - From the Kindle Book Money, Possessions and Eternity by Randy Alcorn, at location 3510.
  5. You will never grow a close relationship with God by just attending church once a week or even having a daily quiet time. Friendship with God is built by sharing all your life experiences with him.
    Of course, it is important to establish the habit of a daily devotional time with God, but he wants more than an appointment in your schedule. He wants to be included in every activity, every conversation, every problem, and even every thought. You can carry on a continuous, open-ended conversation with him throughout your day, talking with him about whatever you are doing or thinking at that moment. “Praying without ceasing” means conversing with God while shopping, driving, working, or performing any other everyday tasks. - From the Day 11 reading from “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren.
  6. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1-2).  - From the Kindle Book Money, Possessions and Eternity by Randy Alcorn, at location 3520.
  7. The past is gone forever and the present is passing as swift as the shadow on the sun dial of Ahaz. Even if the earth should continue a million years, not one of us could stay to enjoy it. We do well to think of the long tomorrow.  - From the Kindle Book Money, Possessions and Eternity by Randy Alcorn, at location 3545.
  8. Faith isn’t insisting we get what we seek now. It’s believing we’ll get it later. This is in stark contrast to prosperity theology, which sees faith as a means of claiming immediate rather than eventual blessing. Following Christ is seeing and welcoming from a distance our eternal reward—not getting it now. The great people of faith were looking for a country “of their own,” better than anything earth could offer.  - From the Kindle Book Money, Possessions and Eternity by Randy Alcorn, at location 3633.
  9. “Aim at heaven,” C. S. Lewis says, “and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you will get neither.  - From the Kindle Book Money, Possessions and Eternity by Randy Alcorn, at location 3692.
  10. Christ’s sudden return will not take by surprise those who are prepared for it. - From the Kindle Book Money, Possessions and Eternity by Randy Alcorn, at location 3716.
  11. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2).  - From the Kindle Book Money, Possessions and Eternity by Randy Alcorn, at location 3725.
  12. Turn your eyes upon Jesus,   Look full in His wonderful face,   And the things of earth will grow strangely dim   In the light of His glory and grace.  - From the Kindle Book Money, Possessions and Eternity by Randy Alcorn, at location 3737.
  13. Wake up and realize that there are infinitely more important things in your life than football and a 401(k). Wake up and realize there are real battles to be fought, so different from the superficial, meaningless “battles” you focus on. Wake up to the countless multitudes who are currently destined for a Christless eternity.  - From the Kindle book Radical by David Platt, at location 262.
  14. The dangerous assumption we unknowingly accept in the American dream is that our greatest asset is our own ability. The American dream prizes what people can accomplish when they believe in themselves and trust in themselves, and we are drawn toward such thinking. But the gospel has different priorities. The gospel beckons us to die to ourselves and to believe in God and to trust in his power. In the gospel, God confronts us with our utter inability to accomplish anything of value apart from him. This is what Jesus meant when he said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  - From the Kindle book Radical by David Platt, at location 663.
  15. In direct contradiction to the American dream, God actually delights in exalting our inability. He intentionally puts his people in situations where they come face to face with their need for him. In the process he powerfully demonstrates his ability to provide everything his people need in ways they could never have mustered up or imagined. And in the end, he makes much of his own name. This is how God works. He puts his people in positions where they are desperate for his power, and then he shows his provision in ways that display his greatness.  - From the Kindle book Radical by David Platt, at location 674.
  16. If you have honest intellectual questions about Christianity, God will provide intellectual answers for them. He gave you a mind as well as a heart. He will provide what you need. But the thing that will ultimately win you is not so much the reasoned arguments, though they are often important stepping stones, but the love of Christ demonstrated by his death for you. - From the commentary on John 20:24-28 of the Boice Expositional Commentary Series (27 volumes) by James Montgomery Boice.
  17. God delights in using ordinary Christians who come to the end of themselves and choose to trust in his extraordinary provision. He stands ready to allocate his power to all who are radically dependent on him and radically devoted to making much of him.   - From the Kindle book Radical by David Platt, at location 795.
  18. What Jesus is saying, though, is that God our Father delights in this. He delights in giving us himself. He puts his very power in us so we might have all we need to accomplish his purposes in this world. This is the heart of Jesus’ promise to his disciples in John 14, the promise that precedes his promises about the Holy Spirit: “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”  - From the Kindle book Radical by David Platt, at location 838.
  19. It is a rock-solid promise that the resources of heaven are ready and waiting for the people of God who desire to make much of him in this world. For the people of God who long to see his power at work and who live to see his purposes accomplished, he will give us absolutely everything we need according to his very presence alive in us. - From the Kindle book Radical by David Platt, at location 845.
  20. It is the way of Christ. Instead of asserting ourselves, we crucify ourselves. Instead of imagining all the things we can accomplish, we ask God to do what only he can accomplish. Yes, we work, we plan, we organize, and we create, but we do it all while we fast, while we pray, and while we constantly confess our need for the provision of God. Instead of dependence on ourselves, we express radical desperation for the power of his Spirit, and we trust that Jesus stands ready to give us everything we ask for so that he might make much of our Father in the world. - From the Kindle book Radical by David Platt, at location 854.
  21. The power of the one who raised Jesus from the dead is living in us, and as a result we have no need to muster up our own might. Our great need is to fall before an almighty Father day and night and to plead for him to show his radical power in and through us, enabling us to accomplish for his glory what we could never imagine in our own strength. And when we do this, we will discover that we were created for a purpose much greater than ourselves, the kind of purpose that can only be accomplished in the power of his Spirit.  - From the Kindle book Radical by David Platt, at location 861.
  22. Proverbs 3:3 - Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Here love and faithfulness are the basis of our salvation. Also, these two graces should always be held together. As F. Taylor has commented, "The lack of one of these graces buries the commendation of the other. Such a person may be loving to the poor without being faithful to God. Such a person may be faithful but have no love in his heart." As Bishop Sanderson said in one of his sermons, "As a rich sparkling diamond adds both value and luster to a gold ring, so do these virtues love and faithfulness bring extra glory to the crowns of the greatest monarchs." But these virtues must not just be used occasionally - they must never leave you. You must bind them like jewels around your neck (4:21; 7:3; Deuteronomy  6:8). You must write them not on stone tablets but in your heart (7:3; 2  Corinthians  3:3). - Proverbs, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, Charles Bridges.
  23. No case is hopeless. Your case is not hopeless. God took Abraham, the pagan, and made him into a pillar of faith and the father of his people. He took Moses, the stammerer, and made him into the greatest vehicle for the communication of the word of God until Paul. He made the shepherd boy David into a king; Peter “the weak” into Peter “the rock”; John the Son of Thunder into the apostle of love; Paul, the persecuter of Christians, into a faithful ambassador and martyr. He can do that for you. Allow him to do it. Believe on Christ. Rather than being faithless, may you be one who, like Thomas, was found “faith-full.” - From the commentary on John 20:24-28 of the Boice Expositional Commentary Series (27 volumes) by James Montgomery Boice.
  24. Proverbs 3:5 - Those who refuse to lean on their own understanding are those who trust in the LORD. For they are trusting in his divine power and are using it as a lamp, so they can find their way. The Christian on his knees, as if he throws away his own understanding, confesses that he is completely unable to find the way by himself. But observe how he behaves. He takes trouble to improve his mind. He conscientiously follows its dictates. In this way practical faith strengthens, not destroys, its power. So it is our clear duty not to neglect our understanding but to cultivate it diligently. In a world where knowledge abounds, ignorance is the fruit of laziness. So lean not on your own understanding. Trust in the LORD with all your heart. Self-dependence is foolishness (28:26 ), rebellion (Jeremiah  2:13; 9:23 ), and ruin (Genesis  3:5 - 6; Isaiah  47:10 - 11). "The great folly of man in trials," as Dr. Owen has rightly remarked, "is leaning to or on his own understanding and counsels. What is the result of this? Whenever in our trials we consult our own understanding, listen to our own reason, even though they appear to be good, the principle of living by faith is stifled, and we will in this way be let down by our own counsels.” - Proverbs, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, Charles Bridges.
  25. Matthew (13:34-35) - The Lord makes his truth accessible to those who seek it but difficult to find for those who resist it.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, page 200.  
  26. God is pleased with faith, not tradition. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Matthew" by Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber, MAtthew 14-15 - page 215.
  27. Religion must be a shining and progressive light. We must not mistake the beginning for the end of the course. We must not sit down at the entrance and say to our soul, "Take it easy now." There is no point where we may rest in complacency, as if there were no loftier heights that it is our duty to climb. Christian perfection is the continual aiming at perfection. The world of eternity will be one of the full light of day, where joy and light increase forever.  - Proverbs, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, Charles Bridges. 
  28. The Lord had mercy upon the Egyptians. And He will have mercy upon any of us. But there is a condition: we must turn to the Lord, acknowledging Him as the only true Lord and Savior of the world. God loved the Egyptians, so He offered salvation to them. But He also loves us, so He offers salvation to all of us as well. However, when the gifts of God’s mercy and salvation are offered, we must reach out to take them. No matter who may offer us a gift, it never becomes ours until we reach out to receive it. So it is with the gifts of God’s mercy and salvation. We must reach out to receive them in order to be saved.
    According to the present Scripture, the majority of Egyptians will not turn to the Lord until the days of great tribulation come to earth. It will be the judgment, the terrible trials, that will arouse the majority of Egyptians to turn to the Lord, the only living and true God. But God forbid that we wait until judgment comes to turn to Him. God help us all to turn to Him now. For when the war machines of this earth mobilize and begin their attack, far too often the hand of death snatches us before we can do anything, much less cry out to God for deliverance. War or disease or accident or even murderers can snatch us away at any time. As we all know, the youngest among us are sometimes snatched out of this world by the hand of death. Time to cry out for salvation is not always available. Today—right now, in this moment—the hand of God’s mercy is extending the gift of salvation to us. But we must reach out to accept the gift in order to be saved. Listen to what God’s Holy Word says about His mercy:

    “And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation” (Lu. 1:50).
    “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ep. 2:4-8).
    “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Tit. 3:5-7).
    “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children” (Ps. 103:17).
    “Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever” (Ps. 106:1).
    “For thy mercy is great above the heavens: and thy truth reacheth unto the clouds” (Ps. 108:4).
    “The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes” (Ps. 119:64).
    “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (La. 3:22-23). 
    - From the “Thought 1” reading from Isaiah 19:16-25 in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  29. Faith - as related to healing - While it is not "faith" that heals, the presence of faith does have positive effects.  And the opposite is also true.  The absence of faith hinder receptivity to God and his activity.  Healing takes place in many different forms in the Bible regardless of the faith of the person involved, but healing is never granted as a reward for having enough faith.  As Christians, we can rest assured that our sovereign God knows what is best for us.  For some people, the "best" is to be healed, and we can praise and thank God for its occurrence.  For others, the "best" is to remain as they are without healing.  We can praise God for his continual presence in our lives and his graciousness, whether or not this results in physical healing. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, Mark 6, II. Commentary, A. The Climate of Unbelief (Mark 6:1-6), page 101.
  30. The observance of religious rites does not produce "righteousness" in a person.  It's what's on the "inside" that counts.  Jesus, the sacrificial servant, teaches that our relationship to God is not based on religious formality but a radical faith in him. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, Mark 7, In a Nutshell, page 114, 116.
  31. Jesus warns us repeatedly in Mark 13 of the need to stay "tuned in" to him.  If we do that, we will not miss how he is working in our lives today.  We will be ready we he returns for us in the future.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, VI. Deeper Diiscoveries, A. Watch; be on guard; be alert (Mark 13:5, 9, 23, 33), page 226.
  32. "Is death the last sleep?  No, it is the last and final wakening." - Sir Walter Scott.    - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, Mark 14, page 232.
  33. "When I consider my crosses, tribulations and temptations, I shame myself to death, thinking what are they in comparison to the suffering of my blessed Savior Jesus Christ." - Martin Luther  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, Mark 15, page 232.
  34. Mark 16 - By rising from the dead and entering our lives, jesus gave us some wonderful gifts - gifts like peace with God, as well as the peace of God; the comfort and encouragement of the Holy Spirit; a worldwide family of believers who will be there when our own families cannot or will not; a future and a hope - an eternal destiny.  All we have to do is be like little children and believe.  It is a mystery, but it is true.  It is amazing, but it is true.  It is priceless, and it is forever.  He is Lord - he is risen - and he is coming back - for real.  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Mark" by Max Anders and Rodney L. Cooper, Mark 16, IV. Life Application, Every Day is Christmas, page 279.
  35. Luke 7 - Faith in Jesus is available even to society's rejects, producing works of adoration and bringing salvation. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Luke" by Max Anders and Trent C. Butler, II. Commentary, E. The Savior's Call to Faith Elicits Faith (Luke 7:36-50), Supporting Idea, page 109.
  36. Luke 7 - Faith often appears in the most unexpected places. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Luke" by Max Anders and Trent C. Butler, page 112.
  37. Luke 7 - The Savior's call to faith is a call to action and decision. - From the Holman New Testament Commentary "Luke" by Max Anders and Trent C. Butler, page 112.
  38. When we have a relationship with God as our Father and completely rely on him, our lives will never be boring again. Just before going to the cross, Jesus explained to his disciples that they could experience the power and enjoy the love that existed between him and his heavenly Father. Then he said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11). Following the example of Jesus puts us on a grand adventure, one that will surprise and delight us much more than anything we could have ever dreamed up on our own. - From location 1065 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  39. God wants us to rely on him. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). When we give him our concerns, we naturally have an attitude that’s worry free, that’s at peace, that’s present to love those around us. - From location 1192 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  40. Reading the Word only out of a sense of duty is like trying to make dynamite without nitroglycerin. It simply won’t ignite. When we don’t have faith, or we don’t bring it to our encounter with the Word, then we view it in a flat, lifeless way that many would say feels “boring.” - From location 1271 in the Kindle Book "Fresh Air" by Chris Hodges.
  41. Faith vs. Feelings - Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. HEBREWS 11:1 NIV - Emotions aren’t wrong; God gave them to us, and they are an important part of life. But our feelings go up and down—and if our faith is based merely on our feelings, it, too, will go up and down. Only when we build our lives on Christ will our faith be stable and strong. Don’t let your feelings mislead you, but base your faith solely on Christ and what He did for us through His death and resurrection. - Graham, Billy (2012-06-12). Hope for Each Day Morning and Evening Devotions (p. 547). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 
  42. Faith literally means “to give up, surrender, or commit.”  Faith is complete confidence. - From the section on “Faith” on page 131 of "Billy Graham in Quotes” by Franklin Graham with Donna Lee Toney.
  43. Blessings through faith - John is obviously concerned with faith and considers it of prime importance. What does he say of the blessings that flow from it? The following ten items are prominent: 
    1. It is by faith that we become children of God and thus enter into the privileges of being in God’s spiritual family. John indicates this at several points but especially in the first chapter, where he says, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (1:12). Certainly this is a great blessing and the source of many others that follow. 
    2. It is through faith that we have eternal life. This is the teaching of the best-known verse in the Gospel, John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Death is an “enemy” (1 Cor. 15:26). But death shall be conquered by faith, which unites us to Christ who conquered it. 
    3. By faith we are delivered from judgment. John quotes Jesus as saying, “I 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” (5:24). 
    4. John 6:35 teaches that faith ushers us into the blessings of spiritual satisfaction now: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” To come to Christ is to believe on Christ; that is what the parallelism suggests. So belief in Christ is set forth as the key to having all spiritual longings fulfilled. 
    5. Jesus also calls faith the means for entering into the final resurrection: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (11:25–26). The blessings of the resurrection are for those who believe on Jesus. 
    6. Faith in Jesus is also said to be the way in which we become blessings to others, as the Holy Spirit who communicates all God’s blessings works through us. This is taught in John 7:38–39: “ ‘Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.” The image is of a broad river flowing through a desert land, giving life and joy to all who come upon it. 
    7. Through faith we see the glory of God. “Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ ” (11:40). Without faith we will be like the heathen, who are surrounded by the glory of God in nature, yet either do not see it or else attribute it to that which is not God by a worship of idols. It is only as we look to God that our eyes are increasingly opened to see what he is doing. 
    8. Faith is the secret of a holy life. Jesus said, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness” (12:46). In biblical language, darkness is the darkness of sin (cf. 1 John 1:5–10). So walking in the light means walking in holiness by means of the spiritual and moral life which God gives. 
    9. The blessing of a fruitful and effective life comes by faith. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (14:12). This does not necessarily refer to what we would call miracles, though taken together the disciples may well have performed more miracles than Jesus did. It refers rather to the many works of witnessing, preaching, and Christlike service performed by Christian people. They are performed by those who take God at his word and go out boldly to do his bidding. 
    10. Finally, it is through faith that we receive the benefits of Jesus’ prayers on our behalf. He said, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message” (17:20). If, as we are told in James, “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (5:16), how much more shall the prayers of the Lord Jesus Christ avail for us! If we lacked all other promises of blessing through faith, this alone should be enough.
    - From the commentary on John 20:29 from the Boice Expositional Commentary Series (27 volumes) by James Montgomery Boice
  44.  In Christ, we are dead to sin and alive to God. The moment we trust in Him, our old self dies and we begin to experience new life. It’s an amazing exchange. Yet many Christians still live as if their old self never died. How tragic!
    Instead of living in light of sin and shame, remember the freedom and forgiveness that was given to you the moment you believed in Christ. Stop looking back and recognize the blessing of new life you have today. Don’t expect to lose. Expect to live victoriously in Christ!LIVE VICTORIOUSLY BY CONSIDERING YOURSELF DEAD TO SIN AND ALIVE IN CHRIST EVERY DAY! 
    - From the April 10th 2015 PowerPoint devotional reading by Jack Graham 
  45. Faith isn’t pretending our problems don’t exist, nor is it simply blind optimism.  Faith points us beyond our problems to the hope we have in Christ.- From the section on “Faith” on page 133 of "Billy Graham in Quotes” by Franklin Graham with Donna Lee Toney.