human

A Personal Issue

Faith is not a concept or an abstract belief nor is it a spiritual dynamic. It's a personal issue—a personal trust.

Most every religion holds to a set of beliefs that define it as a religious faith. But even then, holding to a set of religious beliefs requires a personal trust.

The Christian faith is based on a personal trust in a personal living God. This reaches back before the appearance of Jesus Christ—God's only Son—when God became human and lived on the earth (John 1:1, 14).

The essence of faith as a personal trust in God goes back to the first humans on earth and is seen in their descendants up to and beyond the time of Christ. Faith is and always will be a personal issue. 

Scripture

 Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see. God accepted our ancestors because of their faith.

Faith convinces us that God created the world through his word. This means what can be seen was made by something that could not be seen. [vss 1-3]

Faith led Abel to offer God a better sacrifice than Cain’s sacrifice. Through his faith Abel received God’s approval, since God accepted his sacrifices. Through his faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

Faith enabled Enoch to be taken instead of dying. No one could find him, because God had taken him. Scripture states that before Enoch was taken, God was pleased with him.

No one can please God without faith. Whoever goes to God must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who seek him. [vss 4-6]

(Hebrews 11:1-6 GW) [Context– Hebrews 11]

Key phrase—

Whoever goes to God must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who seek him

Digging Deeper...

Review the Scriptures above as you answer the following questions

  • How is faith explained or defined at the beginning of this Scripture text?

  • How is faith connected to creation and the way the world came into existence? [Gen 1:1-3]

  • Who are two people God was pleased with because of their faith and why?

  • What is needed to please God? What two things are required to please God in this way?

Reflection...

Faith is a two-way relationship. True faith enables a person to see what others can't see who don't have faith.

This is not blind faith. It is a relationship of mutual trust. We trust God and He trusts us with His acceptance and approval.

Do you want to please God? Trust Him! Trust Him with all your heart and with all your life each day of your life.

Pleasing God isn't about living a good or nearly perfect life. That only leads to self-righteousness and eventual failure and disappointment.

God is honored and pleased by our trust in Him above all else and our confidence that He will reward our trust in Him.

Make it personal...

Read through the Scripture text again as you consider and answer these questions

  • Do you struggle with efforts to be good or good enough to be accepted by God?

  • Have you learned the difference between trust and belief?

  • Why do you trust God or do you trust Him? Do you believe He honors your trust in Him?

  • How are you currently learning to trust God in a deeper way?

©2017—Word-Strong


Here's a free introduction for the book of Hebrews— Intro to studying Hebrews

An Indestructible Life

People need and want strong leaders for the most part. Sometimes strong leaders do well, but too often authority and power corrupts a person. Then, corruption breeds more corruption and oppression is unleashed upon those who desire and need strong leadership.

The problem is that no human leader can be supremely benign and powerful in a way that is fair and beneficial to all. Even very good leaders, well-respected and loved leaders, die because they are human. This creates a leadership vacuum in their absence.

Government Upon His Shoulders

It is easy to lose focus and perspective when we get absorbed in one line of thought. Absorbed in a cause, a challenge, a debate, or an impassioned view of an issue. When you see the word government what comes to mind?

Are you concerned about a new presidential administration or the state of our nation? How about wars and refugees? Violence seems to pop up all over the world and our nation is not immune to it. Concerns about the economy, international trade, and jobs, international unrest, immigration, freedoms and rights all come to mind. 

But all of these are issues and concerns of human government. As you read this on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, you might be wondering, "What kind of Christmas message is this?!" "How about something uplifting and hopeful?" Exactly my point!

Our Living Bridge

God is often misunderstood or simply unknown for many people. It ought not to be, but it is. Why? Ignorance and indifference are major factors, of course, but for those who claim to be believers, there's really no excuse.

God came to earth in human form. All four gospels give eyewitness accounts of this. Indeed, this is what the celebration of Christmas ought to be all about. And yet, misunderstandings and ignorance prevail.

For one thing, we tend to overemphasize the spiritual and overlook the human factor. Think about it. God once had flesh and bones, lived a daily life on earth, was part of a family, and in community with other people.

Jesus, the Son of God, experienced a real human life for over 30 years. Although in a different time in history and culture, He experienced life as we know it.

For all those who trust in Him, He is our living bridge to God the Father.

Our Touchpoint

An important part of counseling at any level, for whatever the need may be, is trust. Often, what builds trust is when we know a person identifies with our situation and knows what we're going through.

Peer counseling in self-help groups, even with Christian fellowship, can be reassuring because of shared experiences in life.

In matters of faith, we also need to have similar assurances. This is an important reason for Jesus, God's Son, becoming human to live among us.