VIDEO Fuel for Faith

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

James Watt, the eighteenth-century Scottish inventor and engineer, coined the term “horsepower” to compare the power of newly invented steam engines to the power of a draft horse. The horse and carriage gave way to the horseless carriage, or automobile, powered by gasoline. Now we are in another transition—vehicles are being powered by electricity rather than carbon-based fuels.

Everything is powered by something, even the Christian life. First and foremost, the Christian is empowered by the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13). But from our human perspective, what empowers our life? We could say that faith is the fuel that keeps us moving forward. The New English Translation of Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.” Can you see God? Heaven? Rewards? Eternal life? Why would you keep pressing on for what you cannot see? Because of faith and hope which anchor our soul (Hebrews 6:19).

Since faith comes by the “word of God” (Romans 10:17), build your faith daily by studying and meditating upon the Scriptures. Let your “faith-power” deliver you through this life to the next.

Assurance is a fruit that grows out of the root of faith.  Stephen Charnock


The Substance of Faith (Hebrews 11:1-3)

Brave Love

Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14

The four chaplains weren’t known as “heroes.” But on a frigid February night in 1943, when their transport ship, the SS Dorchester, was torpedoed off the coast of Greenland during World War II, the four gave their all to calm hundreds of panicked soldiers. With the ship sinking and injured men jumping for overcrowded lifeboats, the four chaplains calmed the pandemonium by “preaching courage,” a survivor said.

When life jackets ran out, each took his off, giving it to a frightened young man. They had determined to go down with the ship so that others might live. Said one survivor, “It was the finest thing I have seen or hope to see this side of heaven.”

Linking arms as the ship began to sink, the chaplains prayed aloud together, offering encouragement to those perishing with them.

Bravery marks their saga. Love, however, defines the gift the four offered. Paul urged such love of all believers, including those in the storm-tossed church at Corinth. Roiled by conflict, corruption, and sin, Paul urged them to “be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). Then he added, “Do everything in love” (v. 14).

It’s a sterling command for every believer in Jesus, especially during a crisis. In life, when upheaval threatens, our bravest response reflects Christ—giving to others His love.

By:  Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

Why does selfless love reflect Jesus? How can His love influence how you respond in a turbulent situation?

Jesus, when I don’t feel brave, which is often, stir up my courage to boldly offer love.

Words Reveal Character

Luke 6:43-45

Who we really are on the inside will at some point be revealed outwardly by our words. According to Scripture, all of us make mistakes in what we say—it would take a “perfect” person to always bridle the tongue and thereby control the body as well (James 3:2-3). In fact, no one but Jesus is completely successful in this way. But to the degree that we walk closely with the Lord, the more our speech will be evidence that we follow Him.

In today’s passage, Jesus expresses this idea by means of a metaphor about good trees and bad trees. Making a distinction between the people who believe in Him and those who don’t, He classifies Christians as good trees, through whom the indwelling Holy Spirit is working to produce His good fruit. But men and women without Christ cannot generate any good fruit on their own. That’s because even mankind’s most virtuous deeds originate from the flesh and therefore are unclean to God (Isa. 64:6).

However, just because we are “good trees” doesn’t mean that good words will automatically come forth from our mouth. We need the Holy Spirit to help us use language that is edifying, gracious, wholesome, and true (Eph. 4:29-30). Let’s make it our ambition to abide in Jesus, allowing the Holy Spirit to steer our tongues and bring honor to Jesus Christ.

Jesus Is the Savior

“But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (2 Timothy 1:10)

For centuries, the message of the gospel was presented in drama through the sacrificial system instituted through Moses. Obviously, Moses did not invent the concept of an innocent blood sacrifice. God Himself performed the initial “atonement” when He made coverings for Adam and Eve with the skins of animals that the Creator Himself killed and prepared for them (Genesis 3:21).

Abel brought the “more excellent sacrifice,” but Cain tried “another gospel” and was rejected (Genesis 4:3-5). After the Flood, “Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar” (Genesis 8:20). Abraham and Jacob offered animal sacrifices to the Lord in recognition of their subservience to Him and in obedience to the instructions they were given (Genesis 12:7; 46:1).

When Moses received the law from the hand of God on Mount Sinai, the entire system of sacrifices was centered around a male “lamb without blemish” (Leviticus 1:10; 23:12). This was the Passover Lamb that became the symbol of God’s deliverance of the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 12:21) and was directly applied to the Lord Jesus as “our passover” who was “sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7).

Of all the names given to the Lord Jesus, it is the Lamb title that stands out so strongly when referencing the sacrifice He made. John the Baptist called out, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), and it is the “Lamb that was slain” who is worthy to “receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Revelation 5:12). HMM III

“Why Reason Ye?”

Matthew 16:1-12

AFTER the incident of the Syrophenician woman, Matthew (15:29-31) and Mark (7:31-37) record the healing of many lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others. Mark singles out the healing of a deaf man with an impediment in his speech. Alas, all of us are deaf to heaven, and only Jesus can loose our tongues in true testimony! He tried to avoid superficial sensationalism by charging that they tell no man, but His fame spread.

Next He fed four thousand, an entirely different miracle from the feeding of the five thousand, as Mark plainly tells us (8:19- 20). Not only can our Lord open our eyes and ears and loose our tongues but He feeds us with Himself, the Bread of life.

Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came to Him seeking a sign. It was an unholy union of two Jewish groups at odds with each other but here united in common cause against the Lord. He answers with a mighty declaration that they can read the signs of the weather but cannot read the signs of the times. How true today! Men scan the daily weather forecast for an uncertain prediction but make light of the sure word of prophecy in the Bible lying on the table. These very days through which we now are passing are unmistakably foretold in the Old Book, but when we preach them, men laugh at “excitable premillenialism.”

Our Lord left these inquisitors with no sign, according to Mark, but with the sign of Jonah according to Matthew—the sign of the resurrection (Matt. 12:39-41). Then He crossed the sea with His disciples, who forgot to take bread along. On the other side He, with His mind still on the Pharisees and Sadducees, said, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” The disciples, with their minds on the lack of bread, said, “It is because we have taken no bread.” No wonder our Lord said, “O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?” Then He reminds them of the fact that He has just fed five thousand with a few loaves and fishes and declares that what He had in mind was the evil teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

For us the application is plain. How stupid of these disciples to be worrying over the lack of bread when they had just seen our Lord feed thousands with a few loaves! Would Jesus be bothered over the lack of a little bread when He could work such wonders? Yet we today profess to believe in a miracle-working God who spreads tables in the wilderness and supplies meal in the barrel, and then we reason among ourselves because we have no bread. We worry about daily needs; we gather in a huddle in our churches to devise plans to meet expenses; we forget the supernatural and become panicky in the face of a crisis. Theoretically we believe in a God who supplies all our needs, but when we find resources dwindling and an emergency on hand we reason among ourselves to meet the situation. A Christ who could take a few loaves and feed multitudes is ready to prove His power in our individual lives and in our churches when we quit reasoning among ourselves and let Him work.

Spirit-Aided Praying

The Spirit is the One who gives life.—John 6:63

The more I consider “praying in the Spirit,” the more convinced I am that the majority of Christians do not know what it means to pray in this particular way. Many are content to recite prayers and know nothing of the thrill of entering a dimension of prayer in which the Holy Spirit has full control.

Not that there is anything wrong with liturgical or written prayers—they can be a wonderful primer for one’s spiritual pump. Many people tell me that the prayers I frame at the end of each devotion in Every Day with Jesus have sometimes helped them more than the actual notes I have written. Using written prayers can be helpful, but we must heed the apostle’s exhortation to move on into that dimension which he calls “praying in the Spirit.” The best description of this I have ever heard is that given by some of the old Welsh preachers, like Daniel Rowlands, Christmas Evans, and others. They describe it as “praying with unusual liberty and freedom.”

There is hardly anything more wonderful in the Christian life than to experience this “liberty and freedom” in prayer. I can remember the minister and elders of the church in which I was converted in South Wales saying after a prayer meeting in which there had been great liberty and power: “Tonight we have prayed in the Spirit.”

Have you not experienced moments when, after struggling and halting in prayer, you were suddenly taken out of yourself and words just poured out of you? At that moment, you were “praying in the Spirit.”

Prayer

O Father, forgive me that I try to do so much in my own strength instead of learning how to let You do it in me. Teach me how to let go and let You take over in everything—particularly my praying. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

2Co 3:6-18; Mt 6:7-8; 1Co 14:15; Jd 20

What does the Spirit of the Lord bring?

What are we to avoid when we pray?

The Doctrine Adorned

Titus 2:10

A good plan for helping the kingdom forward is found in this sentence which Paul wrote: “But showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things” (Titus 2:10 KJV). There is nothing which commends an apple tree so much as the sight of ripened fruit hanging from the branches. So nothing sets people longing for holiness like the living exhibition of it.

To “adorn” is to set off to advantage, to add to the attractiveness, to beautify, to decorate as with ornaments. Now that is exactly what the apostle meant, and the application is that you and I must set off to advantage, add to the attractiveness of the gospel which we believe.

Jesus Christ meant that when He said, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). This also was the idea in Paul’s mind in that verse to the Philippians, “Shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15 KJV).

There are people who know very little of what you call “the body of doctrine,” who yet in all simplicity hold the truth of God and live up to it. Tens of thousands have “crossed the river” who could never give you a definition of any doctrine; but they accepted the simple truths in their hearts, were ornaments to their profession, and are now in Glory.

Our trumpet has no uncertain sound. We not only talk about the pardoning mercy of God but about the all-cleansing Blood of Jesus Christ. We not only point out how the rebel can be transformed into a child, but we show how a man’s heart can be made pure and his natured renewed by the indwelling Spirit. Delivered from the love of sin and from its pollution in his heart, he can be kept from sin and sinning and be enabled to rejoice evermore, to pray without ceasing, and in everything to give thanks. Think what a commendation of the doctrine it would be if you all adorned the truth and showed in your daily lives the power to live in holiness.

Talking about holiness has small effect unless it is to be seen in your disposition, in your ordinary life, in your loving consideration for other people, or in your patient endurance of injury. If you want to adorn this doctrine, there must be the beauties of a happy, consistent character and life, otherwise it goes for nothing.

T. Henry Howard, Standards of Life and Service