Faith for the Present

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)
Faith is the key that opens the door to God. Without faith we cannot reach God or receive salvation from God. So it is vitally important for us to discover what faith truly is and how to develop our faith and take our faith to the next level. Here are a few faith devotionals to help discover and strengthen our faith walk with God. 

Acting On The Promises

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"But be ye doers of the Word, and not hears only, deceiving your ownselves."
James 1:22
William Tyndale was perhaps the most important person in the illustrious history of the English Bible. He was, in fact, not only the father of the modern English Bible, but the father of the English language. His translation, first published in 1525, and used subsequently in virtually every other major translation for hundreds of years to follow, was the new standard for English expression. By quoting the bible, Shakespeare quotes Tyndale more than 5,000 times!
William Tyndale did not live an easy life. He was hunted, persecuted, and eventually killed by those who considered his work evil. Putting the Scriptures in a language common people could read? Preposterous! Yet he pursued this goal because he was motivated to communicate what he considered the "lost message of the church"-- the message of faith. Tyndale defined faith as "acting on the promises of God." It's doubtful we could come up with a better definition.
As you consider that phrase -- acting on the promises of God-- how are you exercising faith today? What promuises are you claiming?  How are you living out that reality? For today, identify one specific promise of God that is especially important and significant. Share that promise with others, and consider how you can act on its certainty. In other words, how can you act as if the promise is sure? How can you act as if the promise is so?
What does it mean to act? It means to do something, to take steps, to proceed, to react. Get this one, to get busy.
Confession: I am a doer of the Word and not a hearer only. I act on the Word. I act on the promises of God. I act like it's true because the Word is true. Every promise of the Book is mine. I lay claim to the promises of God concerning areas in my life.
Standing, Claiming, and Acting on the Promises

How to Walk by Faith

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 "For we walk by faith, not by sight"
II Corithians 5:7
George Mueller hadn't faced a situation quite like it. Before him were 120 orphans, expectantly seated at long dinner tables. But something at this mealtime tested the courage of Mueller's heart. On the dinner plates at that table was...nothing but water. Eager faces looked toward him, as if to say, "What's for dinner?" But he didn't know; the cupboard was bare and the icebox was empty. There was no milk, and no money to buy food or drink.
What was George to do? It didn't take long for him to decide. He would do what he had done every other mealtime. He would instruct the children to bow their heads and join him in thanking God for the meal they were about to eat. He would praise God for the faithfulness of His provision. And so he did. Mueller prayed simply, directly, and with a heart filled with faith.
When the "amen" was pronounced, the plates were still empty. But  as the eyes of those 120 youngsters turned again to the head of the table, a knock sounded at the door. One of the boys was sent to answer. A moment later, he called out, "Mr. Mueller, it's the vegetable man! He's got alot of stuff for us!" "Coincidentally," there were many vegetables that would spoil if he didn't do something with them. While the vegetables were being unloaded, another person came to the door--the butcher! He had run out of ice at the end of a hot day and faced the prospect of awful, rotting meat. Could the orphanage use it? No sooner had he spoken the words then another amazing "coincidence" occurred. The milkman's wagon pulled up, overloaded with milk and dairy products and desperately to do something with them!
Needless to say, it was quite a banquet that night. And it was the finest lesson in faith those orphans ever received. Would the same thing have happened had Mueller not prayed, believing God for His provision even when he couldn't see it? We know that Jesus said we have not because we ask not. And we know that his will for us is to walk by faith, not by sight.
God is calling each member of the church family to answer a vital question: Do you have the faith to trust God for His provision? As we move toward the future--personally and corporately--this must be our attitude.
Confession: There are no coincidences in God--no accidents, nothing is by chance, nothing is because of luck. God does everything in my life purposefully and on time. I choose to walk by faith and trust God for every need in my life. I know how to walk by faith and not by sight. The plate looks empty now, but I know that the Lord is my shepherd and I shall not want.

The Trying of My Faith

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Abraham had to wait 25 years before the promised son was born. By then he was 100 years old; his wife, Sarah, was 90, yet God superseded the laws of nature to allow the birth of a child to an elderly, barren, couple. They named their son Isaac, meaning "laughter," for he brought unspeakable joy to them.
After Isaac had grown into young manhood, the word of God came once again to Abraham, he  commanded: "Take your son, Isaac, whom you love and go to the region of Moriah." The message continued, "Sacrifice him there as a brunt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about." (Genesis 22:2, NIV).
Still  believing, Abraham obeyed the voice of God and took his boy on that long, agonizing trip to the bleak slopes of  Moriah. Though he did not comprehend God's purpose, Abraham's faith was not shaken. He obeyed the instructions, placing his son on the altar and raising a knife to plunge it into the young man's chest. In the very act of lifting the knife to kill his son, God stopped him. He commanded Abraham to kill instead a ram caught in a nearby bush.
Would he have gone through with it? Would the old man have actually killed his own beloved son? We need not wonder. Hebrews11:17-19(MSG) provides the answer: "By faith, Abraham, at the time of testing, offered Isaac back to God. Acting in faith, he was ready to return the promised son, his only son, as he had been to receive him, and this after he had already been told, "Your descendants shall come from Isaac." Abraham figured that if God wanted to, he could raise the dead. In a sense, that's what happened when he received Isaac back alive from off the altar." Yes, he would have done it, for he was already expecting God to raise his son from death!
What an extraordinary story, which causes us to wonder, what could we possibly have in common with Abraham? Many things! As God spoke to Abraham, He speaks to you. As God called Abraham to a life of obedience, He calls you. As God called Abraham to a life of faith, so God calls you. As God tries Abraham's faith, He tries your faith.
What does it mean for God to try your faith? Webster's dictionary describes "try" as an assessment, a measurement if you will. In other words, God is saying, what measure of faith do you have? Will you go the ultimate mile? God's saying, what does your faith look like? What does sacrificing your only son look like? I'm thinking about doing it one day. Abraham, let Me make the assessment, let Me measure it, saith the Lord. Are you willing to give as much as I am willing to give?
Think on and discuss the parallels between yourself and Abraham. If possible, identify some specific ways these are revealed in your life.

What Is Faith?

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"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)
In order to tap into the endless resources of God, the believer must exercise faith by acting in obedience to God's Word. As the Apostle Paul explained to the Romans, "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17, NKJV). When one is prompted by the Word of God or by the leadership of the Spirit, obedience to that prompting is an expression of faith. Such a response enables one to enter into partnership with God, and gives the assurance of success even though the end may not be in sight.
When Noah was directed by God to build an ark, he obeyed by starting a project which lasted for a 100 years. Noah had never experienced a flood, nor had he even seen rain, yet he obeyed the Lord. Since the command of God came without a specific schedule as to when the flood would begin, Noah had to believe and act accordingly because faith has no time limit.
Hebrews 11:7 (AMP) says, "[Prompted] by faith Noah, being forewarned by God concerning events of which as yet there was no visible sign, took heed and diligently and reverently constructed and prepared an ark for the deliverance of his own family. Noah had confidence in God's Word. Faith was the only reasonable response for Noah, as it is for us today. As we look to the future we can't see it perfectly, but we can know that God will honor our obedience to Him in the commitments we make.
Confessions: I exercise my faith. I will act in obedience to the Word of God. I will seek the Lord and expect to hear Him speak to me. I will be led by the Spirit of God. However, He leads me today. I will respond to His leading in faith. I may not can see it, I may not can phathom it, but I will do as the Lord says do. Whatever instructions I receive from Him, I will follow. Holy Spirit, prompt me, stir something up on the inside of me, let me know what you want me to do. I'll do it. I'll walk by faith. And Lord, when I've done what you instructed me to do, like Noah, honor my obedience.

Why Do We Need Faith?

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A personal relationship with God is established by faith.  A continuous fellowship with God is maintained by faith. Paul told the Colossians, "As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him" (Colossians 2:6, NKJV). We receive Him by faith, and we walk in Him by faith. Without faith we cannot please God, and we cannot live effectively for Him. "Without faith," the Bible says, "it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6, NIV).
Second Kings, chapter 5, records the story of Naaman, a powerful Syrian military leader who was suffering the most dreaded disease of that era, leprosy. Someone told him that Elisha, the man of God could possibly heal him, so he sought the prophet's help. Elisha instructed him to wash himself seven times in the Jordan River to be healed. The great soldier became angry at such a ridiculous suggestion. "I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of leprosy," said Naaman to his servants (2 Kings 5:11, NIV). At first he refused, but without any other remedy, Naaman at last went into the river and was healed. The act made no human sense, but in the divine plan, it was an act of faith.
Why do we need faith? There is no other way to relate to God, for in His infinite plan He has determined that "the just shall live by faith."
Confession: I have a personal relationship with God. It's established by faith and my relationship with God is maintained by faith. I have received Him as my personal Savior. I received Him by faith. Therefore, I walk in Him on a daily basis by faith. I live in Him by faith. It's in Him that I live. It's in Him that I move. It's in Him that I have my being. I've Got To Have Faith! Without faith, it is impossible to please the Lord. I want to please Him. It's my desire to please Him. Whatever the Lord instructs me to do, no matter how ridiculous, no matter how preposterous it may sound, I'll do it. It may not make sense, it may sound crazy, but I trust God's divine plan for my life. I will act in faith.