Foreword:

Ever wonder what God might have to say to YOU today? Here are things to ponder, and things to receive into your heart. If you have a question, put it in the comments. I respond as much as I can.

A note for all my readers: I've been experimenting with YouTube videos for Bible teaching for a while, and I'm working through Revelation here. My YouTube videos are currently short studies in Matthew, and at present I'm posting videos on Revelation as well. Both appear on the blog, which is turning into a Vlog. I encourage you to subscribe to my YouTube channel for better coverage.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Faith is...

"The assurance of things we hope for, the conviction of things we haven't seen..." (Hebrews 11:1)
I always feel like faith is misrepresented.  Some people put it into the category of jumping off a cliff with a hang glider attached. Others talk about it as if it's like getting into an elevator.  I have always thought of it more as a response to hearing from God, and knowing that He is really there.  It certainly has been so with the people I've watched come to the Lord.  None of them said, "I don't believe any of this stuff, and don't bother trying to make me." Instead, they all said, "Yes, I know this is true..." and then what they did was up to them.
Sure, there was resistance from some folks at the first ("I can't believe that, it's nonsense!"), but all of them came to the point where the decision they made, for or against believing in Jesus Christ, was done from the conviction and knowledge that God was there, and that believing in His Son was a real decision based on the conviction that the things the Bible said about Him were true. In other words, NONE of them made the decision based on the common idea of a "leap in the dark, into something we don't know."
In fact, when faith is discussed in the New Testament, it's always a response based on the conviction that God has spoken, and when unbelief is discussed, it's always a response based on the decision not to believe, no matter what the evidence that God has spoken, and that the Bible is telling the truth about Jesus Christ. This was certainly true in the days when Jesus walked on our planet.  He did wonderful miracles, proclaimed truth diligently, had the Father Himself attest to Him, defeated evil forces, and demonstrated at every turn that He was really the Person He proclaimed Himself to be. It is actually shocking to see the rejection He endured, after He had literally proven His pedigree by doing the things no mere man can do (see, for example, John 9 where Jesus heals blindness and John 11, where He performs a public resurrection).  After His greatest miracle, the raising of Lazarus from the dead, the Jewish leaders respond this way:
John 11:47  Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, "What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs.  48 "If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation." 
...John 11:53 So from that day on they planned together to kill Him.

On the other hand, if you are receptive and would believe if you knew the Gospel was true, here is something for you to consider:
Earlier in John's Gospel, Jesus issued this challenge:

"If anyone is willing to do His will, he shall know about the teaching, whether it is from God, or whether I [merely] speak on my own initiative." (John 7:17)

If you decide, "I want to find God, and I want to know Him, whoever He is, and believe and do what He says," you will find Him.  In fact, the conviction of truth will be so strong in your mind that you will feel overwhelmed by its power.  When the Gospel was first presented to me, I didn't believe and receive Jesus Christ because I wondered if it was true.  I did so because I KNEW.  And that knowing brings a choice--an alternative.  At that point you can receive or reject what God offers--everlasting life and a life with Him that begins now and extends into eternity future.
I hope and pray that you turn to Him today, but if not today, that you seek Him out, for He said,
"You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:11).
Want to find Him?  He will show you--your response to that "showing" is faith in action.  It's the "YES!" to God's voice.