Why Faith in God? Part 5

“One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.” (Romans 14:2 NIV) “For we live by faith, not by sight.” (I Corinthians 5:7 NIV) 

Notice what Paul has observed and discusses about an individual’s faith. One person has enough faith to eat anything–probably because they ask God’s blessing upon the food before they eat it, but another–who does not have faith to eat those foods which have supposedly been forbidden (various types of meat), they will only eat vegetables.

We are no longer under The Law with its restrictions and limitations and we know this because of what we’re told in Acts regarding Peter–who staunchly attempted to hold the gentiles to Jewish Law. Remember the dream? (Acts 10) At any rate, what we learn from this is that nothing God has blessed is forbidden to us. We can eat anything–pork, beef, lamb, fish and seafood of all kinds–for nutrition, as long as we ask God to bless everything we eat. A number of people have long, drawn out blessings for food, but mine is simply, “Lord bless the food and my tummy, too.” And then, I eat–my candy bar, pie, vegetables, seafood, whatever is sitting before me and know that nothing in the food will harm me and my stomach will not be upset by it. That’s exercising faith. Note, I am not advocating people eat things they know that causes them an allergic reaction. Please don’t mix faith with foolishness. I know I cannot eat watermelon because of my body’s reaction to it, so I don’t eat it. Exercise wisdom in all things.

However, for those who have not arrived as yet to exercise that kind of faith--they eat what they have faith to eat–and their  faith, works for them (“According to your faith, be it unto you.”). And since so many people have delicate digestive systems, they need to eat accordingly in order not to get sick or stay sick. This is wisdom, not a lack of faith.

Now, we live by faith–not needing to see things before we believe it. We do it all the time. We have faith that our cars will start when we turn the key in the ignition, without seeing how the ignition system works. We have faith that the chair we sit on will hold us without inspecting it every time we get ready to sit. We have faith in getting paid for the work we do (if we’re working) without seeing what is in the company’s bank account. We have faith in the air we breathe even though we cannot see the oxygen we need to survive. We live faith all the time, not by sight, so why is it so difficult for some to have faith in God?

Some have argued that we are foolish to believe in an “invisible being” we have never seen. I disagree with this supposition. I have already mentioned the oxygen in the air we cannot see, but believe it is there. We cannot see a person’s brains, but their brains are probably there. We cannot see the wind–we only see the results of the movement of the air.

Therefore, I see the results of God moving upon the hearts of people all the time and know He exists for all who believe!

Part 6 tomorrow!

Let’s Keep It Simple!

“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.” (Acts 15:19,20 NIV)

All over the land, especially in America, church leaders are shaking their heads, trying to understand why their buildings are not filled to overflowing (depending upon the size of the building). The biggest problem for most churches is this: the leadership and the people would rather beat people up about The Word, than Teach them The Word.

A number of people visit a church and find some interesting reason to listen to a sermon, but before the service is over, they are assailed with the “rules” and are humiliated because they don’t understand the rules. How can they know “the rules” of anything before they have been taught? And why must people make the rules so rigid that no one wants to adhere to them?

There is a better way to win lost souls and James provides us with the perfect method in this verse of scripture. Let’s encourage them to live a sin-free life, not worshiping idols, and teach them how to receive God’s best in their lives. Let’s keep it simple and draw others into the love of Jesus Christ–pointing the way by what we do–not what we say.

To be honest–those who profess to know Christ, but yet don’t know how to live the life they profess before others–keep more people out of churches than they draw into the churches. When we do not live what we say, we are hypocrites and Jesus has warned us that we’ll get to end and hear, “depart from me you workers of iniquity–I never knew you.” What a heartrending statement to hear! This demonstrates the difference from those who “think” they are living according to The Word and those who “know” they are living according to The Word.

Let’s make evangelizing simple–live it, promote it, teach it, and glorify God in all you do! Let your light so shine, filled with His glory, that others will seek you out, wanting to know–why and how you can smile, and never be discouraged on this journey called–life!

For All Who Believe!

“He is the one all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name.” Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message.The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too.” (Acts 10:43,45 NLT)

For all those who “think” Believers do not need to understand Jewish history, think again. I am always amazed at the foolish remarks I have often heard some people make–especially as it pertains to the Jewish faith. What many have forgotten–in their quest to speculate about the ethnic background of Jesus–is that He was raised in the Jewish faith, in the culture, and the first converts to “Christianity” were Jews! How could we forget that?

People who simply want to debate “issues” never consider the source–The Word–to either validate or inform their decisions. When we know The Word–we know Jesus–we understand His purpose in coming and the cultural environment in which He was raised. He–Jesus–is the one all the prophets testified about saying “everyone who believes in Him” will have their sins forgiven.

All the prophets would include any prophet who spoke what God said.

Everyone would include anyone who chooses to believe in Jesus, the work on the cross and accepts Him as their personal Savior.

So why are there so many people out there who want to dictate or determine who is saved or not or who can be saved or not? From any walk of life, from any cultural environment, from any denominational situation, none are denied Salvation through Jesus Christ or from being filled with Holy Spirit. Therefore, since the invitation is open to all, none can be superior to anyone else.

No matter what  religion is practiced or what denomination a person practices, the only real criteria for being saved and filled with Holy Spirit is that one believes in Him. For with the belief in Jesus Christ, comes the development of a relationship with God and people will know that a relationship with God is not a religion–and no denomination or religious affiliation is superior to another.

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLT)

So, let’s stop nitpicking, thinking any one of us is superior to another. We are not! If we believe in Him who came to save us from ourselves, we are family and we should act like we are in the family of love, to His glory!

A Gift For All!

“The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles” (Acts 10:45).

After Peter preached to the crowd who had gathered about who Jesus is and what He came to do, the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on all who received the message. But in this verse, we see that those who were “circumcised” (Jews by birth and faith, who were converted and became the first Christians) were astonished for they felt the “gift” was for them only.

There is a great deal that could said about the infilling/indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but it would take more room and time than I have. However, this point must be made. There are no superior groups of people in Christ Jesus. His gift is available for all who believe and receive. And those who operate with the guidance of Holy Spirit are not superior; they are gifted which is very different. All can be gifted if they would just believe and receive.

The point is that none of us should think we are more special in God’s sight than any other. If we belong to Him, we are all members of the same family, no matter what denominational banner we carry. If all Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, and anyone else believing in our Creator God, would ever get to this one truth, the world would be a better place in which to live.

Instead of thinking any of us are superior over another group, we should work on developing our relationship with God, understanding what it is He wants us to do that will bring honor and glory to Him, and then receive the gift of Holy Spirit, allowing Him to guide us in all truth.

Are you ready to receive the gift? Humbling yourself and acknowledging the need for guidance other than your own, is the first step. Believe in He who was sent to redeem us and receive the gift of promise–Holy Spirit–who will lead us and guide us in all things and empower us to do all things well, to the glory of God.