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Posts Tagged ‘faith in God’

FAITH SPEAKS  #4AMFaith speaks WEB

Ever felt like you’re surrounded by the enemy? Ever felt like the odds are stacked against you? How do you handle it? Do you throw a tantrum? Do you sulk? Do you go into depression? Do you seek comfort in substances?

  • Maybe your boss just called you into his office and gave you the spiel, “I hate to do this but I have you let you go”
  • Maybe that lump you thought was nothing turns out to be cancer.
  • Maybe you find a packet of Crystal-Meth in your teenager’s bedroom.
  • Or maybe you are hit with the tsunami of negative situations when all three of these type of things hit you at once!

Life overwhelms us all at times. You face big problems or you face a problem for a very long time. King David spoke about these times when he said, “When my heart is overwhelmed, I go to the rock that is higher than I.” If you don’t have Jesus then you go to anywhere you can find comfort, some go to booze, some go to the pokies, some go to porn, some go to medication; but Jesus says, “Come to me, I will give you rest.” He says, “Roll your cares upon Me, for I care for you.

Faith speaks! What comes out of your mouth will help you or hinder you. If you are a person of faith, this is what will happen to you. Bad news arrives. You react as any human would through disbelief, shock, panic, fear and disappointment. Then after a short period of time you get into gear and you say, “God is able! He will help me. I believe that the Lord is on my side!” Your situation will turn around after some time. It may be a short time or a long time. Through the experience you will be a better stronger person.

When you are not a person of faith this is what will happen to you. You get bad news. You react like any other human would through disbelief, shock, panic, fear and disappointment. You then spiral down wards into the blame game, whose fault is this anyway? Or you may throw a tantrum and let anger take over hurting people with your words or fists, or punching walls or other defenceless objects. Then you may seek to justify your problems by giving yourself permission to act outside your own values by gambling, drinking or taking substances. Your end position is less than your starting point.

Bible stories are great. They make for great reading, but also we can learn from them. God placed them in the bible for us. They are true stories and they are written down to help us, to teach us how to live and how God works with people. 1 Corinthians 10:11(AMP)

11 Now these things befell them by way of a figure [as an example and warning to us]; they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction, we in whose days the ages have reached their climax (their consummation and concluding period).

Let’s take a look at this great story. 2 Chronicles 20: 1-6; 15-24

2 Chronicles 20:1-6  (NLT)

20 After this, the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites declared war on Jehoshaphat. 2 Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army from Edom is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea. They are already at Hazazon-tamar.” (This was another name for En-gedi.)

3 Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the Lord for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting. 4 So people from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the Lord’s help.

5 Jehoshaphat stood before the community of Judah and Jerusalem in front of the new courtyard at the Temple of the Lord. 6 He prayed, “O Lord, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you!

15-24 15 He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!”

18 Then King Jehoshaphat bowed low with his face to the ground. And all the people of Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping the Lord. 19 Then the Levites from the clans of Kohath and Korah stood to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud shout.

20 Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.”

21 After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: “Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!”

22 At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves. 23 The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had destroyed the army of Seir, they began attacking each other. 24 So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped.

Think about King Jehoshaphat in this story. He is surrounded! He is hopelessly outnumbered. In verse 3 it says he is terrified! Three armies surround him and his nation of Judah.

It’s not fair!

He has a go at God here. He says in verse 10-11, Hey God you didn’t let us invade these nations when Israel journeyed through their lands, now they have come back to attack us. It’s not fair!! In life we are very often in the situation where it doesn’t seem fair. Strangely it doesn’t seem to make any difference to anyone or anything that we point that out!!

The King’s reaction

The king reacts really well. He goes straight to God in prayer. He says it’s time to fast and seek God. He reminds God of His promises.

The man of God speaks.

In verse 14-15 the prophet stands up to speak. It’s OK he says, God is with us! Don’t be afraid. The battle is the Lord’s. Go down to them. That’s fine for you to say but we could get killed!! How do you react to the words of the man of God?

The King’s reaction again.

King Jehoshaphat bows down, the people fell down and worshipped, the Levites (priesthood) praised the Lord. That’s a faith response. What is your response to the words from the man of God? Don’t go asking the unbelievers for advice. They have no idea how God can work in a situation. They will take you down the pub, that’s no answer.

When the man of God speaks you have a choice. Will you believe? The King gives some great advice. 2 Chron 20:20 (NLT) Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.”

So here’s the plan, the army marches out and the singers go in the front. Anyone feeling vulnerable? This is what they sang, Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever! That is faith speaking right there! The result was the Lord set ambushments against the three invading armies.

It matters what comes out of your mouth. This is not conventional warfare. Faith speaks! What does faith say?

  1. Thanks God!
  2. God is good!
  3. He is able!

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, what is coming out of your mouth?

We all face tough times, but God is with us and how we respond to troubles will block or enable faith to make a way for God to help us. God reacts to faith, not to complaining. Our task this year is to grow in faith so that means we will need to learn how to respond in faith. That is why we need to learn that FAITH SPEAKS!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Describe the feeling of being overwhelmed.

2. How does God feel when you are overwhelmed?

3. When circumstances are against you what usually come out of your mouth?

4. How does a person of faith respond to troubled times?

5. Do you need to feel faith to start speaking words of faith?

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Faith in God CombinedYOU NEED FAITH TO HELP YOU ACHIEVE THE BIG THINGS YOU REALLY WANT TO SEE. YOU CAN LIVE A LIFE WITHOUT FAITH BUT – IT WILL BE A SMALLER LIFE THAN ONE LIVED WITH FAITH.

Do you need a miracle?

Do you need something to change in your circumstances?

Do you need a breakthrough in your life in some way? Maybe your health has some immoveable issues? Maybe you are sick of your ho-hum job and you want to do something different? Maybe you have struggled financially for far too long? Perhaps you have some deep fears or you have wrestled with doubts in your mind for far too long.

Then today you need to tune in really well!!!

You love God, but you’re looking for more. You’re looking for a significant shift, you’re sick of believing for the same miracles and increase but not seeing it as you hoped. You’re at a tipping point, it’s time to change up and create some momentum.

I’m going to give you an answer.

Abraham met with God

Gen 15:1-5

God I want an heir! Essentially Abraham was saying, – It’s my turn now!

You’ve just told me how you are El-Shaddai, the all sufficient one, I know you’re able, but right now I don’t’ have a son! I WANT YOU TO DO SOMETHING FOR ME!

Is that selfish? Of course not!  Jesus said: And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and [really] believing, you will receive. Matt 21:22

God answers Abraham, not just YES; but wait a minute Abraham, I will give you offspring that number as the stars. He believed.

 ROADBLOCK –  Abraham was old.

He made a demand of God and God answered so fast it he nearly missed it and     the answer was far greater than the demand by miles!

God loves faith!  Bold faith pursues God for undeserved answers.

While others wait around for the moving of the water, Jesus is asking you, “What do you want?”

He is waiting for someone to stand up and shout – “It’s my turn now!”

STORY 2 – Naaman the leper 2 Kings 5

He was outside the covenant. He was an enemy of God’s people, but he came and asked big for a miracle. He humbled himself and obeyed God’s direction through the prophet.

It’s my turn now!

ROADBLOCK – He was outside the covenant, he had been an enemy.

When we see other people, pastors, churches being blessed, – we rejoice of course but it’s time to stand up and shout to God, It’s my turn now!

STORY 3 – The Syro-Phenician woman. Mark 7:25-30

She came to Jesus. She’s no Israelite. She’s not entitled to covenant promises but she pushed through every doctrinal, legal, cultural and sexist barrier and shouted, It’s my turn now.

ROADBLOCK – She was outside God’s plan and purpose.

This isn’t an arrogant or selfish demand, this is a call that springs from a faith filled heart that knows God is able, and He is gracious and good and I need His help.

STORY 4 – Blind Bartimaeus Mark 10:46-52

He called out “Son of David have mercy on me” In effect he was saying, “It’s my turn now!”

ROADBLOCK – the crowd stood in the way, be quiet they said, you’re annoying!

But Jesus told them to bring him here. What do you want he asked? Bold faith stands up and says God, it’s my turn now!

It’s my turn for a healing.

It’s my turn for a financial miracle.

It’s my turn for a salvation miracle.

It’s my turn for a Church growth

It’s my turn for a personal breakthrough.

It’s time some believers and leaders decided, we are not just plodding along doing all things well, and hoping for good things to happen, and yet not seeing the big breakthroughs and advances that we truly desire.

We have decided to stand up and make a demand in faith, just like Jacob who said “I won’t let you go until you bless me”

It’s my turn now!

It’s my turn now!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What is the biggest faith challenge you have ever faced?
  2. What did doubt say to your mind about that challenge?
  3. What did/does faith say to you about that challenge?
  4. Can you accept that God really wants to bless, heal and prosper you?
  5. Can you get past any sense of it being selfish to ask God for answers to your needs?

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SALVATION FAITH #4AM  – SUNDAY MORNING MESSAGE AT PLENTY VALLEY CHURCH. 22/2/15

FAITH IS

Why are we speaking about Faith this year? All we receive from God is by faith, every promise, every blessing and all His plan will be accomplished through faith. Faith is our confidence in God’s word, His promises, and our trust in His character to do as He has promised. Our salvation is the most important subject overall. Nothing is more important in your life that this one question: Are you saved?

Do you know you are saved? Are you merely hoping you are saved? Is your faith in Christ saving faith? Would you deny your faith for any reason? That’s what this month’s theme is addressing.

Our key verse for the month is Ephesians 2:8-9 (AMP)

8 For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favour) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;

9 Not because of works [not the fulfilment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]

The bible is full of true stories that illustrate salvation. For example we have

  • Adam and the skins of animals that covered his nakedness.
  • Noah and the ark that saved him and his family from God’s judgement.
  • Abraham and his believing which was accounted to him as righteousness.
  • Isaac and the ram caught in the thicket, a substitute for his life.
  • Jacob who wrestled with God who changed his nature.
  • The exodus where each person was saved by blood on the doorpost.

I could go on!

A famous old church chorus asks this important question:

Are you washed in the blood, in the soul cleansing blood of the lamb? Are fully trusting in His grace this hour, are you washed in the blood of the lamb?

Let’s look at the parable Jesus taught about the prodigal son because it is an important illustration about faith for salvation.

Luke 15:10-32.

10 Even so, I tell you, there is joy among and in the presence of the angels of God over one [especially] wicked person who repents (changes his mind for the better, heartily amending his ways, with abhorrence of his past sins).

11 And He said, There was a certain man who had two sons;

12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the part of the property that falls [to me]. And he divided the estate between them.

13 And not many days after that, the younger son gathered up all that he had and journeyed into a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and loose [from restraint] living.

14 And when he had spent all he had, a mighty famine came upon that country, and he began to fall behind and be in want.

15 So he went and forced (glued) himself upon one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed hogs.

16 And he would gladly have fed on and filled his belly with the carob pods that the hogs were eating, but [they could not satisfy his hunger and] nobody gave him anything [better].

17 Then when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father have enough food, and [even food] to spare, but I am perishing (dying) here of hunger!

18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight.

19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; [just] make me like one of your hired servants.

The power of this story to illustrate salvation, is the change of heart that the son experiences when he realises his lack and poverty. The powerful moment when he “comes to himself” indicates a change of mind and heart which the bible teaches is repentance.

For a person to receive salvation, the forgiveness of sins, that person must exercise faith. Faith is the confident expectation that God’s promise is true and results in trust in His plan. The prodigal son was confident in his father’s love and acceptance. At the time of salvation a transaction takes place. Christ carries your sins and you receive His righteousness.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (AMP)

21 For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].

For God’s part there is a choosing

Ephesians 1:4-5 (AMP)

4 Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love.

5 For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]—

For our part there is a response

Acts 2:37-38 (AMP)

37 Now when they heard this they were stung (cut) to the heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles (special messengers), Brethren, what shall we do?

38 And Peter answered them, Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 There is a decision, a turning, a repentance, which simply means a change of mind and heart. It’s a turning to God and a turning away from the old life, from sins. This turning leads to a trust in Christ that He saves, and you are forgiven of all your sins. This leads to a cosmic alteration of the eternal accounting ledger where your sins are no longer accounted to you. Your name is now written down in the book of life.

Colossians 2:13-14 (AMP)

13 And you who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (your sensuality, your sinful carnal nature), [God] brought to life together with [Christ], having [freely] forgiven us all our transgressions,

14 Having cancelled and blotted out and wiped away the handwriting of the note (bond) with its legal decrees and demands which was in force and stood against us (hostile to us). This [note with its regulations, decrees, and demands] He set aside and cleared completely out of our way by nailing it to [His] cross.

Having faith in Christ saves you. Faith is your belief in God’s promise and your trust in His plan of salvation through the cross. It was initiated by God’s choosing as He calls you and He reveals His goodness to you. It is then sealed by your response as you accept the truth of your need, you repent and believe the gospel.

WHAT IF I DOUBT? – AM I STILL SAVED?

Doubt enters the mind. Its origin is spiritual and shows us the enemy of our souls, satan, is intent on destroying your faith. This is a real and predictable spiritual attack.

If your heart has been moved by God’s love, then guided by your heart, you put off those doubts from your mind, because your heart is convicted by His truth. Like the bride or groom who has second thoughts on the day of the wedding, the question is: am I assured of my partners love?

The parable of the sower and the seed illustrates this truth:

Matthew 13:18-21 (AMP)

18 Listen then to the [meaning of the] parable of the sower:

19 While anyone is hearing the Word of the kingdom and does not grasp and comprehend it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the roadside.

20 As for what was sown on thin (rocky) soil, this is he who hears the Word and at once welcomes and accepts it with joy;

21 Yet it has no real root in him, but is temporary (inconstant, lasts but a little while); and when affliction or trouble or persecution comes on account of the Word, at once he is caused to stumble [he is repelled and begins to distrust and desert Him Whom he ought to trust and obey] and he falls away.

WHAT NOW?

Have you heard the gospel and been moved in your heart? Have you “come to yourself” and some point in your life? If the result of that revelation was that you turned away from your old life and trusted in Christ, then you are saved. If not, now is the time to turn to Christ, and turn away from the old life. Are you struggling with doubt? Put away your doubts and fully trust in the promise of God. In order to gain the confidence to do that, read God’s word and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal His word to you.

DISCUSSION

1. Does God help people because He feels pity for them?

2. What does the prodigal son parable teach us about our life journey before we meet Jesus?

3. Why is it that some people come to the realisation that they need God when the chips are down and others don’t come to that realisation?

4. We are probably a bit reluctant to admit we have doubts at times but doesn’t everybody have doubts at some stage in their journey?

5. Show how this verse can be applied to doubts that come to mind – 2 Cor 10:4-5.

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