Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Substance of things hoped for.


This is my paper for Teaching the Bible Class.  This is a preface page.
Preface page: Mustard Seeds, Faith, Hope and more!
Let’s take a look at http://biblehub.com and see what the commentary says about this first.
Luke 17:6
And the Lord answered, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you.

The Parable of the Mustard Seed
30Then He asked, “To what can we compare the kingdom of God? With what parable shall we present it? 31
It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds sown upon the earth. 32But after it is planted, it grows to be larger than all garden plants and puts forth great branches, so that the birds of the air nest in its shade.”…
 A mustard seed. Mustard, [sinapi,] is a well-known plant of the tetradynamia siliquosa class, distinguished by its yellow cruciform flowers, with expanding calyx, and its pods smooth, square, and close to the stem. Its seed was probably the smallest known to the Jews; and though its ordinary height does not exceed four feet, yet a species grows to the height of from three to five cubits, with a tapering, ligneous stalk, and spreading branches.Bible Mustard Seed Parable bookmark | Please Pass The Mustard Seed:




Faith as a mustard seed, faith? 
In this question and the following questions, we will try to answer them, through stories and through scripture.  Did you know Faith is written about 98 times, and used also as Faithful too?
§  What is faith? 
§  Why do we need to know it?  
§  How can we get it or apply it?   
Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.   
How can some have great faith, and some have little to none? 
Hebrews 11:6 says But without faith it is impossible to please HIM, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him.
In front of you, you should find a Bible, today we will be using it because these pages speak life and life abundantly.  They speak God’s whisper into your heart, mind and soul. 
Faith is a growing experience that can take you through a lot to learn that the Lord is always with you.  But it is also trust in Him to know that He is always with you.  If you have had a rough childhood, parents were not around, it may be tough for you to trust in the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and all your strength.  Maybe you have been let down by someone and you no longer trust.  Trust must be learned and earned, it’s not always a given. 
Faith defined in the dictionary (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/faith) is a noun
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
6. the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure to appear would be breaking faith.
7. the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one's promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles.

Being a Christian, giving your life to Jesus, requires obedience, trust, faith, hope and more.  It’s like planting a seed in the ground, say the mustard seed, it is small, but it grows very fast, it’s great for the soil as it releases biotoxic compounds. The roots go very deep.  Mustard poultice’s draw out infections, they were used a long time ago in in-home health care.  Every part of the plant can be used, eaten or used in health treatments, none of it is wasted.
This tiny seed planted can yield a large crop, sometimes as tall as trees.  It grows fast and deep.  Think about that, faith as a mustard seed.  Small faith, when watered with the Word of God and prayer can grow extremely large.  The yield can be shared with others.  Even when you get knocked around, hanging onto your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, can keep you grounded in the soil like the mustard seed. So, how do you think this seed of faith could move mountains? 
It’s not the tiniest seed but in Palestine, it was the smallest in comparison to the other seeds sown. It is the black mustard seed that can be used for all its parts.
If the seed planted, grows as large as some trees, it can move the soil out of place as your faith grows it can remove your mountains.  Just like things that come up in our lives that appear to be mountains and unmovable, by faith and prayer, they can be moved.
What are the mountains in your life that need to be moved? 
For me, children that need to return to their hearts to the Lord and to their family.  They have gone far away like the prodigal son and they have gotten in the muck and mire and need to know we love them.  Even when they don’t want to hear it.  That is a mountain in our lives.  We continue to pray and let the Lord deal with their hearts, we never stop.  We are believing one day, they will “come home”. 
In dealing with faith, how can we watch it grow? What are the steps to enlarge our faith?
Why do some people have great faith and others do not?  What do we want to learn from this class? 
I believe every circumstance that is presented to us is a chance to grow our faith or to lose our faith.  I think that it’s how we perceive each step.  If we are a Pessimist, we will see things differently than our counterpart the Optimist.  Sometimes we can even fit into the Realist ideals and all those will either stunt our growth in faith or grow our faith.  What are the things in your life that cause you to grow in faith or stand back and worry and lack in your faith?  Let’s look at our life and see where we want to grow and where we have faith to not worry about the things that come.  Worry can set you back a few steps because faith and worry cannot coexist, they are friction and are not a magnetic friction whereby they can be put together.  No, these two do not even like each other well. 
If you are a worrier or a pessimist what can you put down that will help you to grow in your faith?  We also grow in our faith by praying and believing that God can do anything we ask of Him. 
Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
In Matthew 7 we find this nugget…

Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! 12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

The Narrow Way

13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because[a] narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
So, this last one, the Narrow Gate, what do you think this means?   

Mt 7:13-29. Conclusion and Effect of the Sermon on the Mount.
We have here the application of the whole preceding discourse.
Conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 7:13-27). "The righteousness of the kingdom," so amply described, both in principle and in detail, would be seen to involve self-sacrifice at every step. Multitudes would never face this. But it must be faced, else the consequences will be fatal. This would divide all within the sound of these truths into two classes: the many, who will follow the path of ease and self-indulgence—end where it might; and the few, who, bent on eternal safety above everything else, take the way that leads to it—at whatever cost. This gives occasion to the two opening verses of this application.
13. Enter ye in at the strait gate—as if hardly wide enough to admit one at all. This expresses the difficulty of the first right step in religion, involving, as it does, a triumph over all our natural inclinations. Hence the still stronger expression in Luke (Lu 13:24), "Strive to enter in at the strait gate."
for wide is the gate—easily entered.
and broad is the way—easily trodden.
that leadeth to destruction, and—thus lured "many there be which go in there at."

Faith is also by believing Matthew 21:22  And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” But that means we have to trust him more than we trust the worry.  Worry grows weeds, but Faith grows seeds. 
To grow our faith, we need to give everything to the Lord.  You say, it’s not that easy, I like having control over all this…  Some may say, Okay, I can do that.  And the Realist will say, no, I can do it on my own.  All three sets, you cannot walk with the Lord in right standing until you give it all to HIM.  Your walk with him suffers, your faith does not grow.  You may say, “Are you Serious”?  “Dead on, I am!” I say in response. 
Here’s how I know Faith personally, not the person faith, but the Faith of the Lord Jesus.  We all make mistakes, right?  Some way worse than others.  My mistake was trusting someone whom I allowed to control me and my children.  Our life was hell, pure unadulterated hell.  Yet, through this hell, I learned to lean on the Lord.  I learned to homeschool my children, my choice and not the controllers.  He did not like it at all because he was not in control of it.  I got involved with church, we were there Sunday, Sunday evening starting at 3 p.m. waiting in line.  It was a 1,000 people at that time, it’s now 8,000 with smaller churches all over the Island.  After 14 years of controlling me and my kids, God finally heard my cries and gave me a job, people in my path to get out, but so much more.  I learned leadership from being a church liaison and Children’s Pastor with so much hope and faith, I grew in who I was and what God desired for me.  Not for the marriage I chose when I did not listen to the Lord all those years before.  I grew as a disciple and follower in Jesus and not just a fan sitting on the sidelines hoping for a win.  I became a winner through HIM.  But it was through faith I got a job working with kids and saving money to leave.  Thankful for the bank who helped me set up my very own account, get a credit card, having a safety net in place, and a team of people around me who knew what was happening in our abusive home, and lastly three books that the Lord gave me.  God’s Leading Lady by T.D. Jakes, A Year by the Sea by Joan Anderson , and Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich, along with the Old Testament battles.  The Lord showed me what faith was.  I was able to save over $6,000 to leave.  Our military orders were up in June and my daughter and I had a plan.  The now ex-husband, finally relinquished all control in January, or so we thought.  We left the Island with our cash, set out for middle of nowhere Nebraska with only a plan to put daughter in college.  Little did we know God had a bigger and better plan.  It took about a week to find the right apartment, but it took 3 months to find jobs.  My daughter’s faith was wavering big time, she can hold onto fear way easier than faith.  I am the opposite.  I just kept believing that the jobs would come, 30 resumes and a few job interviews later, we finally saw jobs come our way.  She got hers first and began to work at the local hospital in food service, signed up at a different local college for classes that her scholarships paid for and I worked next store to her work place until a better job came along, it was better in that is was days instead of nights and more hours, lots more stress but it was okay.  I walked to work or rode my bike daily.  She had the car for school and work.  Life was finally good.  She married her high school sweetheart and moved off to Germany.  God sent me someone after He told me to build specifically this time for a house for my heart.  I did as requested and wrote down about 60 items I believed were important in a relationship.  A while later, God sent this amazing man into my life that fit every single item on that specific list.  We were married later.   
By God’s grace and listening to HIM and not the worry, having enough courage to grow my faith, I saw God’s hand in my life.  I still do.   Faith is trust.  Do you trust the Lord with your life, your decisions, your walk, your heart?  If you do, take a risk and lose yourself in His Ways.
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

When we really investigate Hebrews 11, we see God’s hand in everything throughout our life and in the lives of the Old Testament people. Let’s turn Hebrews and read it together.  

Hebrews 11-

The Triumphs of Faith

11 Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]. For by this [kind of] faith the [a]men of old gained [divine] approval.
By faith [that is, with an inherent trust and enduring confidence in the power, wisdom and goodness of God] we understand that the worlds (universe, ages) were framed and created [formed, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose] by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which it was testified of him that he was righteous (upright, in right standing with God), and God testified by accepting his gifts. And though he died, yet through [this act of] faith he still speaks. By faith [that pleased God] Enoch was caught up and taken to heaven so that he would not have a glimpse of death; and he was not found because God had taken him; for even before he was taken [to heaven], he received the testimony [still on record] that he had walked with God and pleased Him. But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him. By faith [with confidence in God and His word] Noah, being warned by God about events not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his family. By this [act of obedience] he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness which comes by faith.
By faith Abraham, when he was called [by God], obeyed by going to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as a foreigner in the promised land, as in a strange land, living in tents [as nomads] with Isaac and Jacob, who were fellow heirs of the same promise. 10 For he was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has foundations, [an eternal, heavenly city] whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith even Sarah herself received the ability to conceive [a child], even [when she was long] past the normal age for it, because she considered Him who had given her the promise to be reliable and true [to His word]. 12 So from one man, though he was [physically] as good as dead, were born as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand on the seashore.
13 All these died in faith [guided and sustained by it], without receiving the [tangible fulfillment of God’s] promises, only having seen (anticipated) them and having welcomed them from a distance and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 Now those who say such things make it clear that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 And if they had been thinking of that country from which they departed [as their true home], they would have had [a continuing] opportunity to return. 16 But the truth is that they were longing for a better country, that is, a heavenly one. For that reason, God is not ashamed [of them or] to be called their God [even to be surnamed their God—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob]; for He has prepared a city for them.
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested [that is, as the testing of his faith was still in progress], [b]offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises [of God] was ready to sacrifice his only son [of promise]; 18 to whom it was said, “Through Isaac your descendants shall be called.” 19 For he considered [it reasonable to believe] that God was able to raise Isaac even from among the dead. [Indeed, in the sense that he was prepared to sacrifice Isaac in obedience to God] Abraham did receive him back [from the dead] figuratively speaking. 20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau [believing what God revealed to him], even regarding things to come. 21 By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and bowed in worship, leaning on the top of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, referred to [the promise of God for] the exodus of the sons of Israel [from Egypt], and gave instructions concerning [the burial of] his bones [in the land of the promise].
23 By faith Moses, after his birth, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful and divinely favored child; and they were not afraid of the king’s (Pharaoh’s) decree. 24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 because he preferred to endure the hardship of the people of God rather than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of the [c]Christ [that is, the rebuke he would suffer for his faithful obedience to God] to be greater wealth than all the treasures of Egypt; for he looked ahead to the reward [promised by God]. 27 By faith he left Egypt, being unafraid of the wrath of the king; for he endured [steadfastly], as seeing Him who is unseen. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood [on the doorposts], so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch them (the firstborn of Israel). 29 By faith the people [of Israel] crossed the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; but when the Egyptians attempted it they were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days [by Joshua and the sons of Israel]. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed along with those who were disobedient, because she had welcomed the spies [sent by the sons of Israel] in peace.
32 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who by faith [that is, with an enduring trust in God and His promises] subdued kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promised blessings, closed the mouths of lions, 34 extinguished the power of [raging] fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became mighty and unbeatable in battle, putting enemy forces to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured [to death], refusing to accept release [offered on the condition of denying their faith], so that they would be resurrected to a better life; 36 and others experienced the trial of mocking and scourging [amid torture], and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned [to death], they were sawn in two, they were lured with tempting offers [to renounce their faith], they were put to death by the sword; they went about wrapped in the skins of sheep and goats, utterly destitute, oppressed, cruelly treated 38 (people of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and [living in] caves and holes in the ground.
39 And all of these, though they gained [divine] approval through their faith, did not receive [the fulfillment of] what was promised, 40 because God had us in mind and had something better for us, so that they [these men and women of authentic faith] would not be made perfect [that is, completed in Him] apart from us.  (www.biblegateway.com NKJV)

 

So, why should we know this, Romans 10:17 amp says it this way, “So faith comes from hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the [preaching of the] message concerning Christ.  In the Geneva Bible it says Then faith is by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Because Faith is our cornerstone and Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone, faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.  By believing that God has us in mind and has something better, by faith we should believe it. This necklace is to help remind us that faith can grow like a mustard seed if we just believe God has us in mind and has something better for us. 

Why do we need faith?  What does faith do for us?  How can we learn to grow our own faith?  Well, let’s go into the Word for a bit and look at  Matthew 17:14 – 21

A Boy Is Healed

14 And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic[a] and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.”
17 Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”
20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief;[b] for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.
By faith, we walk with Jesus and by faith we are here together in this faith journey to grow and know Jesus better. 
By faith, we live our lives according to His ways and Word.  We walk by it, we sing songs about it, we know that through our faith we can have an abundant life. 
Sometimes we get stumped and things don’t work out the way we want it to but sometimes it is because something better will be coming along. 
What are the things you have had a lack of faith in?  What can we do to pray about it and help you succeed in this faith walk? 
Today, let’s walk in faith and strive to keep it above all else along with our relationship with the Lord so we can walk in the fullness of His Grace. 
Thank you for coming today, I hope you learned something and have this gift as a reminder of the Faith.

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