What is faith? Truth is, everyone operates in acts of faith everyday, hundreds of times a day. We drive down a road with only a yellow dotted line separating us from oncoming traffic, believing they will remain on their side. Thousands of people board airplanes daily, not knowing the pilot, but trusting he will get them to their destination. Whether, it's seeing a doctor for the first time, entering a building, built by carpenters you've never met, flipping the light switch in your kitchen, or turning the key in your cars ignition, these all are operations of faith. We have faith that the doctor is knowledgable and has integrity, although we know nothing about him. No one saw the pilot graduate from flight school, but yet we trust him. We enter a building built by unknown contractors with no hesitation. We automatically believe, because we've paid the electric bill, the lights will come on when the switch is flipped. And of course we believe all those people that manufactured our car put it together properly, so it will function right. All these steps of action are done in faith, and most of us don't even realize we're acting in faith. Why is it so easy to exercise faith over the natural things of life, trusting people we've never met or believing in equipment we didn't build?
Hebrews 11:1 (God's Word Translation) says, "Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see." This is what we are actually doing with things in our natural life. Yet, somehow, many people find it hard to have faith in God, our creator, our Father! Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths." Learning to have faith in God is just as easy as having faith in a recommended plumber or that your microwave will cook your food. The great thing about trusting and having faith in the Almighty God, is that he'll never let us down! 1John 5:14-15 says, "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him." This is a guarantee! The Bible is God's promise or pledge to us that He will do these things.
If you and I can go through our life believing, trusting or having faith in people we don't know, or equipment made by those we've never met, surely we can trust God. He wrote His promises in a book and sealed them with the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ! "...He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed." Is. 53:5 Men of this earth can fail us, equipment can break apart, but the God we serve will never leave us nor forsake us. (Deu. 31:8) Have faith in God!
February is best known as the 'Love' month. Adults and children invest much in this holiday. It has been estimated that the average person will spend $142.31 on flowers, candy, apparel and more. The approximate calculation of total spending of our nation for Valentines day will be $18.9 billion.* This is astonishing considering the economics of America. Isn't it interesting that people will 'find' the needed money to spend on things, just to express their love to another? It's the proof that we demonstrate love through giving. Whether it's children at an elementary school having a party, parents giving cards and candy to children, or two adults expressing love through flowers, candy, dinner out and the likes - love is being conveyed. All this takes place on - 'Valentine's Day'!
This particular holiday's history is uncertain, and several stories of a martyred mysterious saint called Valentine lay claim to it's formation. Yet regardless of it's past, we surmise the need to exchange a token of affection. Thus the giving of cards and gifts. I think it curious that we have established such a dominant holiday for the declaration of love. If only people shared such passion of demonstrating love to God.
Having established that love is expressed by giving, we find that God was the first to give. John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." God gave what was precious and most valuable to Him, His Son. Jesus gave His life so that you and I might live eternally with Him. How great is that? Jesus also said, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." John 15:13
These are not the only gifts that God has given. Through out the Bible we find His love for us communicated through his gifts: (Eph. 4:11-12) Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for equipping us ; (Acts. 2:38) The Holy Spirit for empowering us; (1 Cor. 12:4-10) Gifts of the Holy Spirit, word of wisdom, word of knowledge, gift of faith, gifts of healings, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, different kinds of tongues & interpretation of tongues; (Rom. 12:6-8) Motivational gifts according to His grace - "Through the grace of God we have different gifts. If our gift is preaching, let us preach to the limit of our vision. If it is serving others let us concentrate on our service; if it is teaching let us give all we have to our teaching; and if our gift be the stimulating of the faith of others let us set ourselves to it. Let the man who is called to give, give freely; let the man who wields authority think of his responsibility; and let the man who feels sympathy for his fellows act cheerfully." (Just naming a few.)
If God has shown His love for us through all these gifts, what have you given Him to show your love? Giving our life to Him, allowing Him to live in us and through us exhibits love for Him. Committing in service to Him by helping in church: greeting, hospitality, ushering, teaching children, praise and worshipping and all the many available areas reveals we love what He loves. Giving of our finances, not only proves we trust Him, but that He's our only Lord!
Since this is a month of Love, why not take this opportunity to express your love to the Father. Search your heart to see what you can give to Him!
Mark 12:30 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."
* Estimations were calculated by the National Retail Federation’s Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics.
Does it seem like all the forces of hell have broken loose and are rampaging? Is there pressure forming on all sides? Do the circumstances seem disconcerting? Does it appear as if the powers against you are more than are with you? Paul wrote of this very thing in 2 Cor. 4 "We are hedged in (pressed) on every side [troubled and oppressed in every way], but not cramped crushed; we suffer embarrassments are perplexed unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair;" And yet, in the midst of all this, he was not crushed of spirit or despaired of hope! How can a person come to the belief that regardless of what is unleashed against them, there IS victory and they HAVE it?
It's so easy to view our circumstances with discouragement. Thoughts come to tell us that there is no hope of escape. The worst is upon us now. This is our lot in life! BUT I want you to know there IS hope. God is on our side! His desires and plans for us are to prosper and succeed. Jesus said He came to give life and life more abundantly. (John 10:10) We don't have to live in a defeated life with a defeatist attitude. Jesus won! Col. 2:15 "He defeated the rulers and powers of the spiritual world. With the cross he won the victory over them and led them away, as defeated and powerless prisoners for the whole world to see."
We must breakthrough the deceptive walls of failure and rise up in the name of Jesus! Reject emotions and thoughts of loss. 2 Cor. 10:5 "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" It takes renewing our mind to the Word of God by reading and rereading. Romans 8:37 says, "We are more than a conqueror through Christ!" What ever the battle is, we realize it's momentary in comparison to our eternal life with Christ. (2 Cor. 4:17) It's important to keep our faith and trust in God, knowing that all things are possible with Him. We can do all things through Him, Who gives us strength!
Just like Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 20) who after hearing of impending war from his enemies, set himself before God fasting and praying for His intervention. His recognition that God was all powerful, mighty and the deliverer, enabled him to hear from heaven. "for the battle is not yours, but God's....position yourself, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord" Jehoshaphat laid aside fear, gave honor to God worshipping and praising Him. (vs. 16-19) And by his belief in the Lord God he didn't have to fight the battle, but won by God's hand. (vs. 20-23)
Creflo Dollar said it best: "Spiritual warfare is where you stand and maintain your stance. It's maintaining what Jesus has already done!" Now it's up to us to use our faith to RECEIVE the promise, rather than use our faith to get God to do something. You see Jehoshaphat came to the place where he believed God at His word, he was able to enter into rest because of His trust and faith in God. You and I need to get to the elevated place of faith, which is rest! It's when we know, that we know, that we know, everything's going to work together for our good!
We want to encourage you today to come into faith and 'rest' for the battle is not yours, but God's. He has done all the work through Christ. Tell the devil to back off!
Luke 10:19 Jesus said, "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you."
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."