Encouraging Words

Matthew 6:25-32 (NKJV) Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little Faith?31Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Why worry! After reading the above scripture, I asked myself why Worry exists in some of the children of God, when we have a faithful God who says He will take care of us and add all these other things unto us. The answer is lack of Faith.

God wants to set us free from oppressions of any kind, but there must be change in our belief system. Our allegiance to our old way of thinking has to change to believe God and his promises with a living faith.

Sometimes it’s hard to have faith if you don’t understand it. To get a better understanding of faith, let’s look at what faith is not.

Faith is not religion. Many times people say we have faith. What they really mean is this: we have our religious ideas and doctrines, our traditions, our way of doing things passed down through generations and don’t you try to change them. This is not the biblical idea of faith.

Faith is not mental assent, meaning it is not in agreement with your mind. Faith is not positive thinking or some sort of hunch. Many Christians believe mentally that the Bible is the Word of God, but this faith does not change the way they live.

Faith is not a way to manipulate God. It is not a power by which we make God do what we want. It is not a kind of magic through which we make God into our servant.

I want to drive out those misconceptions about faith because faith is the most important concept you will ever deal with. In fact, there be may be no more important word in your life than the word faith because faith is the means by which you receive anything at all from God.

In fact Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV) says But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

So it would be an understatement to say that an accurate understanding of faith is important for any of us.

Now let’s look at What Faith Is:

In a general sense of the word, to have faith is to believe in something or someone, to fully trust, to be so confident that you base your actions on what you believe.

Faith in God then, is having the kind of trust and confidence in God and in Christ that leads you to commit your whole soul to Him as Saviour, Lord, Master and King.

The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is an excellent chapter to study in order to gain a proper understanding of Faith because it not only defines the concept. It goes on to list dozen of men and women who are known for their accurate understanding of faith.

Hebrews 11:1(NKJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Faith believes when you don’t see it. It’s being sure that what you ask God for will come to pass because the Bible teaches that real faith anticipates. It visualizes the future in the present…it sees in advance…so it is being sure of what you do not see.

Well when it comes to genuine faith, it is not quantity that counts. Jesus said you only need the faith of a tiny mustard seed…so quantity is not that significant. Genuine faith is obeying when you don’t understand it.

It’s the quality of faith that’s important and quality of faith comes from that which is fixed firmly to the object of your faith. Your faith can be strong if the object of your faith is strong, you can have faith to follow God anywhere He leads you in life because you know God knows His stuff.

In fact, there is not a single incentive, thought, act or word that has slipped out of your being and escaped the full, undivided attention of God. Hebrews 4:13 says all things are naked and open before his eyes.

And unlike anyone else, God knowledge is not limited to time. He reads your future just as clearly as He reads your past. Who you were 20 years ago is no less certain to God that who we were 5 years ago.

You couldn’t have a more trustworthy guide. You can trust God’s leading in your life even when you can’t see where it will take you

God doesn’t want us to worry because worry is fear of the unknown, worry is a dark room where negatives develop. God say He will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Faith has to be in you to believe God.

Take a look at Abraham’s faith.

It was faith that made Abraham obey when God called him to go to a country God had promised to him. He left his own country without knowing where he was going.

Abraham’s faith motivated him to obey God even when it meant leaving his home and family and heading off for some unknown destination, a trip that didn’t make much sense.

In my own life, I look back and I truly understand Abraham’s call to leave his country and family.

My husband and I was in Anchorage Alaska, pasturing a church for many years, it was there that my amazing husband went home to be with the Lord. It was at that that time, the Lord called me to a new assignment; I was thinking that assignment was in Alaska, to take over the church I was pasturing. After all I had gone through with the lost of my husband, this was my comfort place; my home was there, my church family was there to help me and my girls with anything we needed. I did not understand at this time what God was doing. To make a long story short, God said No; I’m sending you to Arizona, that’s your new assignment. Like Abraham, God was calling me to leave the place where I was living to go to a new place that I knew nothing about. It takes faith to follow the perfect will of God even when you can’t see what’s on the other side of the mountain. My obedience changed my life and the life of my girls. God always works things together for your good. I didn’t know at that time God was setting me up for my destiny.

Many time God’s commands doesn’t make much sense. According to Proverbs 3, faith often requires us to lean not on our own understanding.

The fact that God’s instructions didn’t make much sense to Abraham didn’t stop him from acting on his faith. Abraham’s example teaches us that authentic faith is always characterized by action.

True faith is not passive. It’s dynamic and forceful. Faithful people actively obey God in the NOW. Authentic faith is active, James 2:18 wrote, show me your faith without deeds, I’ll show you my faith by what I do.

People, who know what they believe, act on what they believe. True faith is obeying when you don’t understand it.

Genuine faith is persisting when you don’t feel like it. In today’s society everything is based on how you feel. In other words, if you feel like doing it, do it. If you don’t feel like doing it, don’t do it. This is a guaranteed formula for an immature faith because immature people build their lives on feelings, rather than on commitments.

People who live their lives based on what they feel end up being manipulated by moods. One day they’re up and the next day they’re down. They flip-flop around because they feel different day to day.

A good way to define successful faith people is this: they do what most people don’t feel like doing. They develop habits that unsuccessful people don’t feel like developing, like using their time wisely or being persistent.

3-PersistenceThe word persistent means: determined to continue despite problems or difficulties. Godly men and women persist at doing God’s will even when they don’t feel like it. How do we get this kind of persistence?

Hebrews 1:27 It was by faith that Moses left Egypt and was not afraid of the King’s anger. He held to his purpose like a man who could see the visible.

What made Moses persistent? It’s that last phrase. He saw who is invisible. He kept his eyes on Jesus. This is the key to persistent; keep your eye on God, not on your problems.

When you keep your eyes on God he will give you the strength to persevere. We keep our eyes on God by spending time studying His word, talking with Him, and being with Him.

James 1:3 Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

God helps you persist even in tough times. And when we persist even during times when our faith is tried it becomes stronger. Think of tough times in life as faith exercises that push and pull and stretch and pound our faith and takes it to its limits so that its limits can expand.

When you persist in your faith even when you don’t feel like it, it grows. In this walk of faith, begin to thank God before you receive it.

A good example of this occurred under the leadership of Joshua.

Hebrews 11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people marched around them for seven days.

The Israelites had come to conqueror the land He had given them and they found this fortified city. They had been slaves for four hundred years. They had almost no training as an army. They have few weapons and they face the fortified city of Jericho. And God says here is the plan. God always has a plan.

Walk around the city, once a day, for six days. Put the priest and the ark in front and have them blow the horns of worship as they walk in salience. And then, on the seventh day, march around it seven times in this way. And on the seventh time, give a great shout of praise and the walls will fall down. Notice they were to put the priests and the music of praise first in the procession. They were to praise God for the city’s destruction before it happened. Praise God no matter what.

When you trust God, even when you don’t see it here and now, you are following His leading in faith, even when you won’t see the results of your faith right away, you just know it’s done. You can Praise Him knowing that all is well with you.

Another great example of faith is giving. Let’s look at story about the widow of Zarephath.

You remember the story from 1 Kings 17:1-15. During a time of great famine in the land, the prophet Elijah faithfully obeyed God’s commands.

He went to this widow and asked her for bread and for a place to stay. This widow had no bread; in fact all she had was a little grain and some oil, enough for one more meal and her small son.

Read her response to the prophet Elijah in 1 Kings17:12 As surely as the Lord your God lives, she replied. I don’t have any bread, only a hand full of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son that we may eat it and die.

For this prophet to ask of this poor single mother may seem cruel, but his challenging request was actually a service to her, because it gave her the opportunity to give in a way that would allow her to see God provide. She trusted God and God did provide during all the years of that famine. Her flour bin was always full and her oil never ran dry, no matter how much she took from it to feed Elijah and her son. Giving all she had gave her assess to God’s limitless supplies.

The purpose of giving in the first place is to learn to trust God on a deeper level. Giving helps us learn that we can rely on God, and lean on Him for our needs. Giving sacrificially gives us access to God’s resources and they are limitless.

Six principles of faith that pleases God, these are a must in your walk of faith; believe, obey, give, persist, thank God and trust God.

Believe when you don’t see it
Obey when you don’t understand it
Give when you don’t have it
Persist when you don’t feel like it
Thank God before you receive it
Trust God even if you don’t receive in your time frame