Taking with the Hand of Faith

August 20th, 2017

The Faith That Takes

"Therefore I say unto you, All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye have received them, and ye shall have them" (Mark 11:24).


What a promise! It is so large, so Divine, that our little hearts cannot comprehend it. In every possible way we seek to limit it to what we think is safe or probable. We don't allow it to come in just as He gave it to us with its quickening power and energy. If we would allow it, that promise would enlarge our hearts to receive all of what His love and power are really ready to do for us.


Faith is very far from being a mere conviction of the truth of God's Word or a conclusion drawn from certain premises. It is the ear which has heard God say what He will do and the eye which has seen Him doing it. Therefore, where there is true faith it is impossible for the answer not to come. We must do this one thing that He asks of us as we pray: "Believe that ye have received. "He will see to it that He does the thing He has promised: "Ye shall have them. "


The essence of Solomon's prayer (2 Chronicles 6:4) is, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who hath with His hands fulfilled that which He spoke with His mouth to my father David." This should be the essence of all true prayer. It is the joyful adoration of a God whose hand always secures the fulfillment of what His mouth has spoken. Let us in this spirit listen to the promise Jesus gives because each part of it has a Divine message.


"All things whatsoever. "From the first word our human wisdom begins to doubt and say, "This can't possibly be literally true." But if it isn't, why did the Master say it? He used the very strongest expression He could find: "All things whatsoever." And He said it more than once: "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23); "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed... nothing shall be impossible to you" (Matthew 17:20). Faith is completely the work of God's Spirit through His Word in the prepared heart of the believing disciple. It is impossible for the fulfillment not to come, because faith is the pledge and forerunner of the coming answer.


"All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer believing, ye receive. " The tendency of human reason is to intervene here with certain qualifiers, such as "if expedient," "if according to God's will," to break the force of a statement which appears dangerous. Beware of dealing this way with the Master's words. His promise is most literally true. He wants His frequently repeated "all things" to enter our hearts and reveal how mighty the power of faith is. The Head truly calls the members of His Body to share His power with Him. Our Father places His power at the disposal of the child who completely trusts Him. Faith gets its food and strength from the "all things" of Christ's promise. As we weaken it, we weaken faith.


The whatsoever is unconditional except for what is implied in the believing. Before we can believe, we must find out and know what God's will is. Believing is the exercise of a soul surrendered to the influence of the Word and the Spirit. Once we do believe, nothing is impossible. Let us pray that we do not limit Christ's "all things" with what we think is possible. Rather, His "whatsoever" should determine the boundaries of our hope and faith. It is seed-word which we should take just as He gives it and keep it in our hearts. It will germinate and take root, filling our lives with its fullness and bearing abundant fruit.


"All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for." It is in prayer that these" all things" are to be brought to God. The faith that receives them is the fruit of the prayer. There must be a certain amount of faith before there can be prayer, but greater faith is the result of prayer. In the personal presence of the Savior and in conversation with Him, faith rises to grasp what at first appeared too high. Through prayer we hold up our desires to the light of God's Holy Will, our motives are tested, and proof is given whether we are indeed asking in the Name of Jesus and only for the glory of God. The leading of the Spirit shows us whether we are asking for the right thing and in the right spirit. The weakness of our faith becomes obvious as we pray. But we are encouraged to say to the Father that we do believe and that we prove the reality of our faith by the confidence with which we persevere. It is in prayer that Jesus teaches and inspires faith. Whoever waits to pray, or loses heart in prayer because he doesn't feel the faith needed to get an answer, will never learn that faith. Whoever begins to pray and ask will find the Spirit of faith is given nowhere as surely as at the foot of the throne.


"Believe that ye have received." Clearly we are to believe that we receive the very things we ask. The Savior does not say that the Father may give us something else because He knows what is best. The very mountain that faith wants to remove is cast into the sea.


Dependence on God

August 15th, 2017

1 Chronicles 3:1–4:23; 1 Timothy 3:8–16; Psalm 77:1–20


When we locate a problem, often we fixate on it. we in the natural, think that if we analyze it enough, We can solve it. This is a problem when we come to difficult issues that require someone else’s expertise. Stubbornly, we want to figure out the problem myself. We want to be self-sufficient. When God is the only one who can solve my problem, I’ve just created an impossible scenario.

When the psalmist hit troubling times and questioned the things that were accepted truths in his life, he didn’t seek his answer from anyone but God. When he felt far from God and questioned all he had taken for granted, the questions he asks are close to those in our own hearts: “Why God? Have you removed your favor?” (Psa 77:7). “Has your steadfast love ceased forever?” (Psalm 77:8). “Do your promises end?” (Psalm 77:8).


It would have been tempting to dwell on his personal experiences to answer these questions. But instead, the psalmist turns to study God’s redemptive work. This seems counter-intuitive to us, but we find this practice throughout the psalms. Why doesn’t the psalmist simply address the problem at hand? He knew that to understand God’s work in the present, he had to look to the past. He had to consider God’s work in humanity—His wonders of old, mighty deeds, holy ways, and power among the peoples. Ultimately, though, the psalmist looks to God’s work of redemption in the exodus from Egypt. He needed a backward glance—a look at God’s faithfulness to His people in the past.


We have an even greater redemptive story than the exodus. When things seem to go wrong, when we question God’s plan for our life, we can look back to Christ’s work on the cross. We’re not leaving our story for another one when we do this; instead, we’re acknowledging Christ’s ongoing work in our lives through the Holy Spirit. His work sets our entire life in perspective.


When life seems complicated, don’t try to be self-sufficient. When your emotions dictate otherwise, take a backward glance at the cross and reckon in your mind and heart what is already true of God’s love for you. There has never been such a testament of His love. Then take a faithful step forward, trusting in Him.


How are you trying to be self-sufficient? How are you taking a backward glance at the cross and stepping forward in faith?


The Spiritual Law of Resurrection Changes Circumstances

August 12th, 2017

For the law of the pneuma of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:2  


For the law of the Spirit of life which is in Christ Jesus, the law of our new being, has freed me from the law of sin and of death.


Romans 8:2 The Law of the Spirit Sets Us Free


The Law of the Spirit of Life. Origen: The law of the Spirit of life is the same thing as the law of God.… For to serve the law of God and to be under the law of the Spirit is to serve Christ. To serve Christ is to serve wisdom, which is to serve righteousness, which is to serve truth and all related virtues. Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans.


The Spirit of Life in Jesus Christ. Ambrosiaster: Paul holds out security for us by the grace of God, so that we should not be tempted by the suggestions of the devil as long as we reject them.… We shall instead be rewarded if we repel the counsels of that sin which remains in us, for it demands great skill to avoid the tricks of the enemy within. “The law of the Spirit of life is the law of faith.” For even the law of Moses is spiritual in that it forbids us to sin, but it is not the law of life. It has no power to pardon those who are guilty of the sins which merit death and thus to bring them back to life.… Therefore it is the law in Christ Jesus, that is to say, through faith in Christ, which frees the believer from the law of sin and death. The law of sin, which Paul says dwells in our members, tries to persuade us to sin, but the law of Moses is a law of death, because it puts sinners to death. Commentary on Paul’s Epistles.11


Chrysostom: “The law of the Spirit of life” is just a way of saying “the Spirit. “For as he calls sin the “law of sin,” so he also calls the Spirit the “law of the Spirit.” But Paul also called the law of Moses “spiritual.” What is the difference? It is great! For the law of Moses was spiritual, but here we are dealing with the law of the Spirit.… The law of Moses was merely given by the Spirit, but this one gives those who receive it a large measure of the Spirit himself. This is why Paul called it the law of life, in opposition to the law of sin, not to the law of Moses. For when he says that it freed him from the law of sin and death, it is not the law of Moses which he has in mind, because he never calls it the law of sin. In any case, how could he have done so since he had called it “just and holy” on so many other occasions, and destructive of sin as well? Rather, the law of sin is the force which wars against the law of the mind. The grace of the Spirit put a stop to that war by slaying sin and making the contest light for us, putting a victor’s crown on our heads at the beginning and then drawing us into the struggle with enough help to win it. Then, as he always does Paul turns from the Spirit to the Son and the Father, showing that we are dependent on the entire Trinity.


Pseudo-Constantius: Those who are in Christ do not serve the lusts of the flesh, and therefore they are not bound to be condemned. The Holy Letter of St. Paul to the Romans.


Pelagius: Note that Paul calls the law “grace.” Pelagius’s Commentary on Romans.

Set Free from the Law of Sin and Death. Theodore of Mopsuestia: The apostle says that the resurrection takes place by the working of the Spirit. … Paul calls the Spirit the “Spirit of life” because the Spirit is the firstfruits of the eternal life which we shall then enjoy. The Spirit has been given to us in the hope of immortality, and faith in Christ has permitted us to enjoy him, because he has set us free from death and sin. Clearly Paul is using the things which are to come as evidence for what has been promised to us in Christ. Pauline Commentary from the Greek Church.


Romans 1:4 In this passage the nature of the Lord Jesus is being set forth. God's gospel is "concerning His Son Jesus Christ": hence, it is necessary, at the outset, to define His true nature. As regards his flesh He was "of the Seed of David." As regards his pneuma He was "the Son of God." And this pneuma was "holiness "itself. The word is remarkable: it is ἁγιωσύνη (hagiosunē). It does not occur at all in Greek Literature. And in the New Testament it is found only here, and 2 Cor. 7:1 ("perfecting holiness in the fear of God)," and 1 Thess. 3:13 ("unblameable in holiness before God"). The expression "pneuma hagiōsunēs" must therefore not be confounded with pneuma hagion. Hagiōsunē denotes the attribute of holiness itself; not merely holy as to character. Hence, "pneuma hagiōsunēs," a pneuma of holiness, being the Genitive of Apposition, means a pneuma which is holiness itself. This agrees with Luke 1:35 where it is distinctly stated to Mary: "that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." The Divine spiritual nature of Christ which He had from the Holy Spirit Himself is here put in contrast with the human flesh which he had of "Mary" as "the Seed of David."



The Invite to Ask, Seek, and Knock

August 7th, 2017

Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise. –Hebrews 10:35-36


Father, I know that You are faithful and I have total confidence in Your Word. I will not allow circumstances to sway me from what I know to be true. Your Word has never failed. It is tested, tried and true. Th rough it, I have a strength and determination that overcomes all obstacles and laughs in the face of every trying circumstance. I see Your reward in front of me and I am determined to stand fast until it is manifested in my life. No matter what I face, I will endure to the end and receive what You have promised.


My Confession for Today


I confess that a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit’s supernatural power is never far away from me. A fresh surge of this power is as accessible to me as my very next breath of air! It’s just as normal for me to receive a new infilling of the Spirit as it is for a fish to freely swim around in its tank. In fact, it’s difficult for me N O T to receive this impartation of superhuman, supernatural strength for the fight. Because my heart is open to receive it, I ask God to release it into my life, and by faith I now receive this divine power. It’s mine for the taking! I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name



My Confession for Today


I declare by faith that I am going to take up acting! In every situation I face, I am going to imitate the character of my Heavenly Father, successfully replicating Him in every sphere of my life. I know it will require a great deal of time and commitment for me to arrive at this high level of duplication, but I resolve to start where I am today and then do more each day from this moment forward. And I’ll keep up my efforts to act like God until I finally begin to think like Him, talk like Him, sound like Him, and carry myself in His confidence. I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!


My Prayer for Today


Ephesians 5:1 Lord, help me make the decision to put my unsanctified emotions, thoughts, feelings, and behavior aside and to start acting like You. I know that if I approached every pro b l e m “acting” like You, it would make a huge difference in my life. You see everything from a viewpoint of power and victory, so please help me to see like You, think like You, and act like You. Help me make the decision to change my way of thinking—to learn how to respond as You do to every situation I am confronted with in life. I pray this in Jesus’ name!