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Category Archives: forgiveness

What Is Faith Part 2

 


On my previous post, I wrote about faith and why we should place our faith in God alone. I wrote about the different attributes of God and no other deity past, present or future exhibits the qualities that God alone possesses.

For today’s post, I’m going to share the different Bible characters who exemplified faith and which is the compilation of what faith really means.

Hebrews 11 shows us great examples of faith:

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.

By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.

It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.

It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying – “he disappeared, because God took him.”  For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.

It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith-for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.

It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who as good as dead-a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.

All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.

It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau.

It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff.

It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left.

It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born. They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s command.

It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible. It was by faith that Moses commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover and to sprinkle blood on the doorposts so that the angel of death would not kill their firstborn sons.

It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red  Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned.

It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.

It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death.

But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.

All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.


REFLECTION:

The characters in the Bible showed exemplary faith but did not receive the promises of God. An example is the promise of Abraham where his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. (Genesis 22:17). We can all testify that this promise was just fulfilled in our lifetime. But look at how Abraham’s faith is. He did not see God but aligned his life to following God’s will.

Another is Joseph. He died with the promise that his people, Israel would go back to their promised land. He was so sure of the promise that he even told his people to carry his bones when they leave Egypt.

These people did not have the Bible to rely on nor other people before them to emulate. They each showed such faith that they were willing to die for it. Some were tortured, thrown into the lion’s den and even sawed in half. They were willing to give up their lives and not enjoy the momentary pleasures of this life but were looking for the great price ahead.

In our time, we have numerous Bibles, examples of faith-filled people but oftentimes we still fall short of our belief in the Almighty. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). So whatever he did in the past, He will surely follow through because he has no sin, can’t lie and is perfect. There is no shadow of him turning. (James 1:17).  Whatever He says in his word, he will complete it with surety.

 

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God’s Gift to Everyone this Christmas Season

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It’s Christmas once again and yes, gift giving and receiving  is the norm but do you know the real meaning and essence of Christmas and why we celebrate it?

If you look at the word Christmas, the basic root word and most important word is Christ and without Him, we wouldn’t have anything to celebrate about every year.

Over 2,000 years ago, Christ came to earth as a babe to fulfill God’s will and mission which was to save all mankind from the penalty of sin which is death and eternal separation from Him by offering Himself as the perfect and living sacrifice for everyone. Christ came not only for the few or the elect but for everyone on earth and it is up to you to accept His offer of salvation. This is a free gift that is totally yours for the taking.

Christ endured the most excruciating death anyone could experience so you could have an abundant life here and with him in heaven. He didn’t overthrow the Romans to save the Jews from its cruel grasp but had a much greater plan which was for everyone born during his time and beyond.

Christ, who is the celebrant of the Christmas season gave His all – everything with no holds barred. This was done solely for you even if you are the only human being on earth. Do you realize how precious you are in His sight? He will do anything, give everything up even to the point of death just so you can live with Him for eternity. This was God’s plan from the very beginning and Christ was the one who executed it and the Holy Spirit will seal you once you accept His offer of salvation. The 3 persons in the Godhead (Trinity) already did His part and now it’s time to do your part. Don’t delay for the decision lies solely on you and if the time comes that you are at the end of your life and meet the Lord as your judge, I fervently hope that He will welcome you into His heavenly kingdom and not otherwise.

Jesus, the greatest gift of all time and how do you show your appreciation for that gift?

The best gift that you can show in return is to accept Jesus as the Savior and  Lord of your life.

I hope your life story will end well by making the best decision this Christmas season and have the very best Merry Christmas today and forevermore.

 

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Writing 101, Day 7: Hook ’em with a quote

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Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
       (Matthew 11:28)

Read the passage again but this time let it sink down through your spirit.

Now, what do you feel? Did you feel a dark cloud hovering your spirit lifted up or you didn’t feel any change in your emotions at all? If you belong to the latter, let me expound and break the passage a little bit more.

Burdens are like baggages. Emotional baggage. Passing through an x-ray machine, you’ll find hate, resentment, bitterness, envy, indifference, anger and other evil thoughts. Together with this baggage is a carry-on of don’t-bother-me kind of attitude and a long  sourpuss face. No wonder why you feel heavy and can’t live life with a lighter attitude. Do you have this kind of baggage in your life? If so, the quote above is your lifelong prescription to freedom.

Jesus is inviting us to bring all of our encumbrances to Him. We are not meant to carry our burdens alone. Sure, we have friends that we can talk to and vent-out all our pent-up feelings and have a pity party but it doesn’t offer a permanent fix.

All of us have been hurt in one way or the other and as a consequence we become hardened, bitter and store hatred in our hearts. Stored up bitterness eats us up slowly and overtime it affects our health. Cancer, heart disease and other illnesses have a root cause and believe it or not, it springs out from our hearts. Try to examine and analyze what comes out of your mouth and if you hear anything that is not pleasing, check your heart for the Bible says, Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech. (Proverbs 4: 23-24). Your words reflect the condition of your heart.  You might be able to control it at times but it will soon come out and your actions will reflect your inward thoughts and feelings.

Sure you’ve been hurt and have been mistreated and reason out that you don’t deserve such actions but so was Jesus on the cross who was beaten, mocked, spit upon and have been called with such derogatory remarks but His response was, “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34). This is hard for us to follow which is why God provided the Holy Spirit who will empower us to do what we can’t do on our own.

Any hidden sin that you hold on to is like putting on the shackles on your neck, arms and legs that imprisons and a load of trash on your back. This is a self-inflicted confinement that can only be set free once you lay all impure thoughts and emotions on the hands of Jesus. Do not try to get even with your offender, take the high road and pick your battles for not all situations need to be addressed – some are just detours and irritants that are not even worth your time and attention. Let God handle all of your adversaries for He said in Romans 12:19, “Avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine: I will repay.”

So here’s my work list for you today:

  1. Check your heart – see if there is anything that you’ve been harboring for all these years and lay it all to God in prayer
  2. Forgive your enemies and yourself
  3. Don’t do memory reruns of things done and said in the past
  4. Capture every ungodly thoughts and replace it with God’s Word
  5. Live life moving forward and leave the past in its proper place – which is in the past
  6. Fix your thoughts on what is honest, just, pure, lovely and on things of good report (Philippians 4:8)
  7. Receive the abundant life God has freely given you

 On a final note, I will leave you with a song from the Disney movie, Frozen, entitled Let it Go.

Let it all go and live the best life.

Be free, my friend. 

 

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2015 in forgiveness, freedom, living light, quote

 

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